Baseball America released their “All-Rookie” team, which included Vladimir Guerrero Jr. listed as the designated hitter.
There are some folks who view Vladimir Guerrero Jr‘s rookie season as a bit of a disappointment, but that’s all just a matter of perspective. In the grand scheme of things, it’s amazing that a 20 year old can keep up in the big leagues, let alone produce 2.1 bWAR over the course of 123 games.
Maybe he didn’t dominate the league like some people expected he might, but he was still one of the best rookies at the highest level this year. If you need proof of that statement, Baseball America released their “All-Rookie” team, and the Blue Jays’ talented slugger was listed as the third baseman for the American League.
Guerrero Jr. was one of many impressive rookie performances across the big leagues this year, and may have been more celebrated if not for what some of the others managed in their first year.
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Pete Alonso broke the rookie record with 53 home runs, Yordan Alvarez tore the league apart in about half a season, and there were other notable performances from guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres), Will Smith (Dodgers), Eloy Jimenez (White Sox), Keston Hiura (Breweres), and more. At first I was surprised that others like Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, or even Trent Thornton hadn’t pushed to be included, but it’s a pretty impressive list.
It was a tale of two seasons for Guerrero Jr. on his way to being named to the All-Rookie team, and a season full of valuable lessons for the young phenom. He slashed .249/.328/.413 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 225 at-bats before the All-Star, and was a different hitter after a half-season worth of experience. He parlayed his impressive performance at the home run derby into a .293/.349/.452 line with seven home runs and 44 RBI in 239 at-bats, showing steady and encouraging improvement throughout the year, including on defence.
There’s no doubt that baseball is trending in a younger direction these days, and it’s definitely a great sign that the Blue Jays have some of the better ones around the game. Entering his sophomore season at just 21 years old, don’t be surprised if Vlad Jr. takes some significant steps next year. Even in a bit of a disappointing 2019 campaign, he was still pretty darn good.