Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is quickly becoming the face of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The number one prospect in Major League Baseball has taken awhile to show off his power, but he’s outstanding. In the past few weeks, Toronto Blue Jays fans have finally seen Guerrero hit the long ball over and over again. It all began when the Blue Jays took on the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in mid-May.
Prior to the May 14th ballgame against the Giants, Guerrero had a line of .191/.283/.234. In addition, he still hadn’t delivered a moon shot. The young talent was due to hit his first home run. Nick Vincent of the San Francisco Giants threw a 90 mph four seam fastball on the outside edge of the strike-zone. Guerrero made contact with the ball and sent the ball over the centerfield wall. It was quite a beautiful homer. But, Guerrero wasn’t done just yet. Later on in the game, he took an 89 mph change-up from Reyes Moronta deep. This time around, Guerrero pushed the ball into the stands in left centerfield.
Since those two home-runs against the Giants, Guerrero has been lights out. He now has 7 home-runs, 16 runs batted in and a line of .256/.326/.472. Those aren’t bad numbers. But, Guerrero still has a lot to work on. The major item that he needs to pay attention to is plate discipline. We’ve seen rookie ballplayers like to swing at everything and anything. After 33 plate appearances, Guerrero owns a low BB% of 9.4% and a relatively high K% of 18.1. Guerrero needs to be more cautious at the plate and he needs to start working on plate discipline now before it becomes a bad habit.
But, aside from discipline, Guerrero is doing a lot of great work at the plate. He seems to be taking advantage of the entire field. He’s making it truly hard for the opposition to create a shift to circumvent his offensive power. Each time that Guerrero makes contact with the ball, it’s not a guarantee on which direction the ball will land. At the moment, he owns a pull percentage of 40%, a central percentage of 39% and an opposite field percentage of 21%. He’s become a pest for his opposition and if he can continue at this pace, he’ll generate a ton of intentional walks. Not many pitchers are going to want to face Guerrero in high-danger situations.
All-in-all, it took a while for Guerrero to blossom, but he has. If he does hit a cold streak, Toronto Blue Jays fans should stay patient. Guerrero, Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette are the future in Toronto. There is absolutely no rush. These kids will be exceptional ball players, but don’t pressure them into becoming superstars on day 1.
stats from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, fangraphs.com