Since Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has lost a bit of weight he’s been hitting very well. If fitness is the recipe for success, he and the Blue Jays need to take note.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr‘s fitness has been a topic of conversation for the last few years, and with the way he’s playing lately, the discussion may not disappear for at least a few years.
I say that because both the Blue Jays and Vlad Jr. have been more forthright when talking about his weight, how it directly relates to his performance, and the way the team uses him. For example, lately they’ve admitted that part of the reason he was shifted to first base/DH during summer camp was because he returned to the team in much worse shape than he had arrived in back in February. When he struggled to start the season, the conversation gained even more steam.
While he’s been much better lately, I don’t know that his performance is going to put the fitness conversation to bed. I say that because it’s clear that Vlad Jr. has dropped some weight, and low and behold, he’s hitting much better and moving more fluidly on the diamond. In fact, the team has even had him taking ground balls at third base again, citing the possibility of adding more options for Charlie Montoyo, especially after the addition of Dan Vogelbach.
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The recent news is all very encouraging, and it’s a lot more fun to watch Vlad Jr. when he’s locked in at the plate. That said, it should be an important reminder for both the player, and for the Blue Jays going forward. Some players can carry some extra weight and still be effective, such as the Prince Fielder‘s and David Ortiz‘s of the world. However, there’s almost no debating that Vlad Jr. is more effective when he’s in better shape, and he’s even admitted as much in recent interviews like the one Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae discussed on Sunday’s broadcast.
Knowing that, there’s no excuse for Vlad Jr. going forward, both this year and for at least the next few seasons of his career. It’s possible he may settle into his frame as he gets older and this will be a moot conversation down the road, but at this stage in the 21-year-old’s life, physical fitness has to be a priority in order to get the best out of him.
Having success is addictive, and hopefully Vlad Jr. will continue to thrive as the Blue Jays play the 2nd half of this season. If they can qualify for the post-season and Guerrero Jr. can get a taste of playoff baseball, that may be all the more motivation heading into off-season.
Whatever it takes, it’s pretty clear that a fit Vlad is an effective Vlad. Here’s hoping that’s a renewed priority for him.