Vladimir Guerrero Jr. looks as though he never left, as he’s returned from the disabled list and picked up his dominance at the plate right where he left it before getting injured last month.
For most players, when you get injured and have to miss some time on the disabled list, it can be a bit of an adjustment trying to jump back into a professional baseball lineup. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. isn’t most players.
Guerrero entered Monday night’s contest with a ridiculous slash line of .408/.457/.657 with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and he added to that total in style with his 12th home run of the season. It also brought his RBI total to 58 in just 57 games played at the level. Have a look for yourself, courtesy of @gideonturk:
His production before getting hurt in June was bordering on criminal, as he punished Double-A pitchers on a daily basis and left fans wondering when his inevitable promotion would take place. The organization has since said that he was days away from being promoted to Triple-A when he was injured roughly six weeks ago, but we’ll never know for sure.
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For now it doesn’t really matter what the plan was back then, but fans will surely want to know what the plan is for him going forward. Pat Tabler talked about it on Monday’s broadcast of the Blue Jays game against the Twins, and seemed to lean more toward Guerrero staying in Double-A for the remainder of the year, and pursuing a championship with his teammates in New Hampshire.
Because of the injury hiccup in his development, it might give the Blue Jays enough time to justify keeping him in Double-A for the remainder of the year. However, it’s likely that his play will dictate the best course of action, and there’s a good chance he’ll force management’s hand as he was earlier in the calendar. For instance, since returning from injury Guerrero has played seven games between Rookie Ball, High-A, and now Double-A. He’s also picked up right where he left off in June, collecting at least one hit in each of those seven games.
It seems hard to believe that management will be left with any choice but to promote him to Triple-A Buffalo at some point this season. Maybe he’ll hit a bit of a slump (for him, that would be hitting .350) and slow things down, but at this stage his talent just seems undeniable, and the competition in Double-A is simply inferior.
I’d be genuinely shocked if the Blue Jays promoted him all the way to the big league club this year, but stranger things have happened. Chances are he’ll continue to build on his resume, and fine tune his defensive skills before getting the call sometime early in 2019.