Vladimir Guerrero Jr

Blue Jays: The important unanswered questions from this season

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 30: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays looks up during batting practice before the start of MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on March 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 30: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays looks up during batting practice before the start of MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on March 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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BUFFALO, NEW YORK – AUGUST 26: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Sahlen Field on August 26, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. The Blue Jays are the home team and are playing their home games in Buffalo due to the Canadian government’s policy on coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NEW YORK – AUGUST 26: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Sahlen Field on August 26, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. The Blue Jays are the home team and are playing their home games in Buffalo due to the Canadian government’s policy on coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

What can we expect from Vlad Jr. next year?

It wasn’t the sophomore season that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or the Blue Jays were hoping for in 2020, but there were still some positive strides for the 21-year-old.

First and foremost, it’s significant that he managed to stay healthy all season, even if the schedule only had 60 games, and the Blue Jays handled him with “kid gloves” at times. Still, it was encouraging to see him avoid the Injured List, especially when even he admitted that his conditioning was still a bit of an issue.

With the benefit of a full off-season to prepare for his work at first base, and hopefully some lessons reinforced about conditioning, I am cautiously optimistic that we could see big things from the young slugger in 2021. It feels like we’ve been saying that for a few years now, and he still hasn’t lived up to the hype that he arrived in the big leagues with, but let’s not forget that he’s still only 21 years old, and most players his age haven’t even sniffed the big leagues.

Having said that, next season will be an important one for the former top prospect in baseball, especially as the Blue Jays look to take another leap toward being a contender. Vlad Jr. has flashed his talent at the highest level, and he ended the regular season off on a positive note, but he needs to find more consistency, and frankly, more power to his mighty right-handed bat.

Whether that means he needs to concentrate on conditioning, launch angle, or something else altogether, it feels like next year will be an important one in determining his legacy, and the future of this team. If he’s at his best, he has the talent to be one of the best hitters in the American League, and adding that kind of bat to what we saw in 2020 would make a significant difference.

Will Vlad Jr. make that leap in 2020? I’ll admit that I’ve been extremely frustrated with the youngster at times over the last couple of seasons, but I’ll still bet on him in 2021 and beyond, and I’m sure the Blue Jays feel the same way.

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