Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. And The Concern For A Post Derby Slump

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CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 08: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field on July 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 08: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field on July 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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After being the star of the show at the home run derby in Cleveland earlier this week, will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. suffer a slump as a result?

If Vladimir Guerrero Jr. did not take the world by storm when he was the number one prospect in baseball, he certainly did with his unworldly performance in Tuesday night’s Home Run Derby.

By now, we all know the story – Guerrero was crushing baseballs all night as he sent 91 home runs into the stands, the most home runs ever hit at the derby. Those who watched the 20-year old slugger’s performance generally fall into two categories.

The first camp being those who believe that the derby will increase Guerrero’s confidence and boost his slugging numbers as a result, and those who believe that the home run derby has the capability of temporarily ruining one’s swing.

The second camp’s reasoning is simple, participating in the derby could cause a player to uppercut their swing in hopes of hitting more home runs. It seems like a legitimate concern, though has it affected past Blue Jays who have participated in the Home Run Derby? Below are all the Blue Jays hitters who have participated in the contest since 2007 and how they performed in the month after.

2007 Alex Rios

Alex Rios headed into the 2007 Home Run Derby with 17 home runs to his name and like Guerrero, he finished as the runner-up. So just how much did the derby affect his swing in the next month after the All-Star Break?

Before 2007 Home Run Derby

.294 BA, .870 OPS, 17 Home Runs

After 2007 Home Run Derby (July 12-August 12)

.333 BA, .950 OPS, 3 Home Runs

While Rios only hit three home runs in the month after the derby, he increased his batting average and OPS. No cause for concern here.

2010 Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells put together a great year in his last season with the Blue Jays and was invited to the 2010 Home Run Derby. His performance in the derby was quick and forgettable as Wells hit just two home runs.

Before 2010 Home Run Derby

.265 BA .843 OPS 19 Home Runs

After 2010 Home Run Derby (July 16-August 16)

.286 BA, 796 OPS, 3 Home Runs

Wells saw his batting average increase but his OPS and power numbers fell slightly in the month after the home run derby. Luckily for him, the mini-slump, if you want to call it that did not last much longer, as Wells would add another nine home runs after August 16th to finish with his most home runs since 2003.

2011 Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista was putting up video game numbers in 2011 with 31 home runs at the break and a .336 batting average, though his numbers would come back down to earth following the Home Run Derby.

Before Home Run Derby

.336 BA, .1250 OPS 31 Home Runs

After Home Run Derby (July 14 -August 14)

.225 BA, .761 OPS, 3 Home Runs

Bautista is our first candidate for showing signs for a slump following the derby as he did not hit his first post derby home run until 18 games after the All-Star Break.

2012 Jose Bautista

Bautista got another crack at the derby in 2012 and had a strong performance, finishing as the runner up after hitting 20 home runs during the event.

Before Home Run Derby

.244 BA, .900 OPS, 27 Home Runs

After Home Run Derby (Only six games played)

.176 BA, .627 OPS, 0 Home Runs

After his best personal performance at the Home Run Derby, Bautista broke down shortly after. The former Blue Jays slugger managed to play just six games the rest of the season after injuring his wrist.

2014 Jose Bautista

After two disastrous post derby slumps, Bautista was back to take another crack at the home run derby in 2014 after posting typical Bautista-like numbers in the first half of the season.

Before Home Run Derby

.292 BA, .911 OPS, 17 Home Runs

After Home Run Derby (July 18-August 18)

.290 BA, .928 OPS, 6 Home Runs

Looks like the third time was the charm for the former Blue Jays slugger as Bautista maintained his numbers across the line in the month following the derby.

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2015 Josh Donaldson

In his first season as a Blue Jay, Josh Donaldson was beginning his campaign to be AL MVP and while he would not win the derby, he still put up a great performance, launching 18 home runs during the event.

Before Home Run Derby

.293 BA, .883 OPS 21 Home Runs

After Home Run Derby (July 17-August 17)

.288 BA, 1.046 OPS 10 HRs

Donaldson heated up following the Home Run Derby, maintaining an OPS of over 1.000 not just in the month following, but for the rest of the second half. The former Blue Jays third baseman used a strong second half to bring the Blue Jays to the post season while also winning the AL MVP.

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Only Bautista saw significant slumps following the Home Run Derby with one being the result of an injury. The concern for a post derby slump seems to be a classic example of fear mongering as prior Blue Jays have gone on to post similar and, in some cases, even better numbers following the Home Run Derby.

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