1- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
If you’re surprised to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s name at the end of this list, you either skipped ahead without reading the rest, or you really haven’t been following the Blue Jays at all this season.
The 20 year old came into the league with sky-high expectations, and while he hasn’t performed to the level that some folks thought he would, he’s still been incredible for a player at his stage of his career. He entered last night’s game with a slash line of .273/.348/.453 with 15 home runs, 24 doubles, and 61 RBI in 110 games played.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
According to baseball reference Guerrero’s efforts have been worth a bWAR rating of 2.2, while Fangraphs has him down at 0.7 fWAR. The reason for the difference is that fWAR leans more heavily on defensive value, and that’s the area that Guerrero needs the most work. His -11 DEF rating shows exactly what I’m talking about here.
Still, the young phenom has shown steady improvement on both sides of the diamond this year, and hasn’t backed down from the pressure that comes with being the top prospect in Blue Jays’ history. The difference in first performance from the first half to after the All-Star break (.304/.373/.503 in the second half) has been significant, showing that he’s learning and making adjustments, even against the best players in the world.
Perhaps the only reason we’re not recognizing Guerrero Jr’s efforts more is because of the influx of young talent both in Toronto, and across the rest of the big leagues. But make no mistake about it folks, Vlad Jr. has been very impressive as a 20 year old rookie, and is only going to get better as he fully grows and matures into his adult body, and continues to learn.
In a season when the Blue Jays had a lot of impressive rookie performances, I would have to give their “Rookie of the Year” award to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., even if some of you don’t agree with me.