A week ago it looked like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might need a breather from the big leagues. Since then he’s been locked in, putting the slump behind him.
Remember when many of us were worried about Vladimir Guerrero Jr‘s big league production? Some folks even suggested that he could benefit from a stint in Buffalo like the one that Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and others have used to get back on track this year.
That seems like a long time, and that’s Vlad Jr. has really started looking locked in at the plate over the last five games.
The 20-year-old started to turn things around with a three-hit game on Friday against the Tigers, coming 3-5 and picking up an RBI. He followed that up on Saturday with a 2-4 performance, also slugging a home run over the left-centre field fence and picked up four RBI in the effort. Of course, those four RBI came with one swing, as he became the youngest Blue Jay to ever hit a grand slam.
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After going 0-4 (with a walk) in the series finale with Detroit, Guerrero Jr. went 2-3 in their first game against Cleveland on Monday night, and then picked up two hits last night as well. He broke up Trevor Bauer’s no-hitter late in the game on Tuesday, and nearly picked up a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth after Justin Smoak had tied things up off of Cleveland closer Brad Hand. That last ball was absolutely destroyed, reaching 114.1 MPH according to baseballsavant.com.
I don’t progress to be a big league scout, but there’s an easy to spot difference when Vlad Jr. is feeling confident at the dish, and that’s how he looked last night and over the last few games. There’s no denying the talent he possesses in that bat of his, but it’s going to take time to develop into his full potential, and especially to become the most consistent producer he can be. That said, even the best go through ups and downs over the course of a 162 game season.
The good news is it looks like Vlad Jr. is going to be just fine, at least for now. That’s especially helpful because it’s possible that this team will look at a lot different in a little over a week, and Vlad Jr. is going to be one of the faces of the franchise going forward. Selling that idea would be a lot more difficult if he was back in Triple-A trying to find his confidence again.
If this team is going to lose veterans like Marcus Stroman, Ken Giles, Justin Smoak, Eric Sogard, Daniel Hudson, and possibly others, Ross Atkins and Charlie Montoyo are quite literally handing the future to the kids. It’s nice to see Vlad Jr. get rolling in time to take the keys.