Blue Jays: Arguing for and against a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reset demotion

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 13: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after striking out during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 13, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 13: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after striking out during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 13, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been struggling for a while now. Are we at the point where a stint in Buffalo could help his development?

He may have put on a hitting display during the home run derby, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has struggled to produce at the plate for a while now.

After going 0-4 on Wednesday night against the Red Sox, Vlad Jr. is now 3-20 since the All-Star break concluded, picking up just one walk in his five starts as well. That’s a pretty small sample size to get overly concerned about, but things were trending downward toward before the break as well, and it might be time to start asking if the Blue Jays should do something about it. Guerrero has slashed .211/.318/.289 in 11 July games, and hit just .255/.324/.372 in June as well.

The most important goal when it comes to Vlad Jr’s 2019 season is his long term development, and with that in mind, his struggles at the plate have some of us wondering whether he could benefit from a short stint in Buffalo to get back on track.

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On one hand, we’ve already watched Lourdes Gurriel Jr. completely turn his season, and maybe his career around after 31 games in Buffalo. For the 25-year-old it was as much about getting his confidence back as it was about working on any deficiency in his game, and the reset worked like a charm. He’s not the first talented player to debut and then need to go back to the minor leagues to work on his craft, a list that even includes Hall of Famer, Roy Halladay.

On the other side of the argument, confidence shouldn’t really be an issue for the 20-year-old Guerrero Jr. right now, especially after lighting the baseball world on fire during the home run derby. I realize that skillset is completely different from the one he needs to thrive in live MLB games, but how could the experience have done anything but build his confidence? I’m willing to bet he left Cleveland feeling pretty good about himself.

I don’t know that I believe that confidence is the problem for the former top prospect in baseball, which makes me wonder where the best place to work on his craft may be. It’s not that he’s completely overwhelmed by big league pitching, it’s that he’s not thriving the way that we expect that he should be, even at just 20 years old. It’s also about continually being mindful of his long-term development, even if he’s already arrived in the big leagues.

If he keeps hitting below the Mendoza line as he has through the first 11 games of this month, then yes, I think he could use some time to get back on track against some easier competitive. However, if that doesn’t happen, and I don’t expect that it will, there are worse things than him taking his lumps at the highest level this year and battling through his first real bump in the road as a professional.

Next. Blue Jays acquire Wilmer Font from the Mets. dark

We’ll see what the next few weeks bring for the talented young man, but just as it’s been with most of this young team this year, we need to do our best to remain patient and remember that it’s a long season. It’s also a good reminder that the road to MLB stardom isn’t easy, even for the greatest of prospects.

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