Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s conditioning has been a topic of discussion throughout the season, but Blue Jay fans shouldn’t overreact to his admission of being tired.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. clarified some comments he made that were written about by Sportsnet’s Arash Madani over the weekend, and indicated that there was some misunderstandings about whether or not he works out by weightlifting. As it turns out, there was some sort of misinterpretation of his answer that was related to Madani, and he does in fact work out.
Whatever the case may be, I hope Blue Jay fans can put the whole discussion to rest for a while, as his condition has been a widely discussion topic throughout the season. On one hand I can understand it, as the 20-year-old has learned many lessons throughout his rookie season in the big leagues, and that includes conditioning and preparation.
I don’t know why that’s a surprise to so many people given his youth, but I do understand that his talent brings unfair expectations from a lot of people. That’s the price of stardom, and something that the talented slugger is going to have to deal with throughout his career.
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Speaking of unfair expectations though, I can’t help but notice the concern from some fans on social media about his conditioning (sparked by the Madani article, of course), but also that they reacted to something that he did actually say. In the interview, Guerrero Jr. admitted that he is feeling tired now that the team is at the end of the regular season, and I’ve noticed a few people expressing concern that a 20-year-old shouldn’t be worn out.
That idea is ridiculous, especially when you think about the rigours of a MLB season. It’s not just the 162 game season that can wear you down, which is enough on it’s own, but there are more adjustments that come for rookies at the highest level, especially ones that attract as much media attention as Vlad Jr. does. Their travel schedules are intense, and they have to find time for conditioning, film study, and some work on the field and in the batting cage. Somewhere in there these guys are supposed to find time to be normal human beings too.
Yes, Guerrero Jr’s youth is an advantage for him, but don’t kid yourselves about the difficulty of adjusting to life as a big leaguer. Now that he’s experienced it, I’m willing to bet that it’ll be easier next season and beyond, but these guys really can’t fully prepare for the endurance run until they’ve gone through it.
As for Guerrero’s conditioning, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to lessons learned this year, and how he’ll apply that going forward. He’s already said as much, but I believe that with the experience of a near-full season in MLB that he’ll see the value of putting extra time in on your craft. It’s a lesson that all natural talents like him have to learn at some point, and while I think the whole thing has been overblown this year, I do think we’ll see some encouraging signs on that front when he shows up for spring training.
Until then, let’s try not to worry about the fact that he admits that he’s tired, or even that he’s learning more about his body as he matures into a grown man. I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of lessons to learn when I was his age, and I don’t think I could have played 120 games (plus his MiLB and Spring Training games) without falling apart physically. Nevermind the fact that he’s had to deal with being a media darling with the rebuilding club as well.
The fact that he’s adjusting his offseason workout plan, including a plan to lose 15-20 pounds this winter, tells me that he’s learning what he needs to do in order to get through the marathon, regardless of how young he is. That might be the most valuable lesson learned this season, and I’m excited to see what he can do in 2020 after a mostly successful rookie campaign, including a lot of valuable experienced gained.