Blue Jays: Comparing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to other teen call-ups

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. /
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PHOENIX, AZ – MAY 01: Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – MAY 01: Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Three elite starting pitchers

Most of the top teenagers to play at the highest level recently have been position players, but there have been some seriously talented pitchers that have made the jump at a young age as well.

Let’s start with Madison Bumgarner, who debuted at 19 years old with the San Francisco Giants in 2009. He appeared in just four games that season, making just one start, so let’s have a look at the following year. The lefty went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 111 innings pitched during his first real go around with the team, and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the National League. The following season he finished 11th in Cy Young voting, and if not for a couple of freak accidents off the field, Bumgarner’s counting stats would be even more impressive. His development was just fine.

Next we have Clayton Kershaw, who was technically 20 years old when his career began in 2008, but was only a couple months past his birthday, so I’m going to include him because of the similarities to the others in this section. Like Bumgarner, Kershaw had some early success and finished his first season 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) during his rookie season. By his second season he had an ERA of 2.79 in 30 starts, and by 2011 he had won his first Cy Young. It worked out okay, I guess.

Lastly I’d like to include Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, who debuted in 2005 not all that long after his 19th birthday. In 12 starts that first season, Hernandez held an ERA of 2.67, and a WHIP of .0996. The following year he also started a run of 10 straight seasons making at least 30 starts, and seven All-Stars appearances and a Cy Young award during that time. He may be fizzling out a little earlier than the Mariners had hoped at just 32 years old, but he’s got a lot of mileage on that right arm, especially since he started at such a young age.