Toronto Blue Jays: Who is the team MVP this season?
The 22 year old phenom- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us expected Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to be some kind of star in the big leagues, but it was hard to foresee him becoming an elite producer to this level, or this quickly.
Heading into the second last series of the regular season, Vlad Jr. is slashing a ridiculously impressive .315/.405/.601 with 46 home runs and 105 RBI. He’s the only hitter in the American League with an OPS above 1.000 (Bryce Harper and Juan Soto are the only others across all of baseball), and he’s earned 6.7 bWAR, and 6.6 fWAR for his efforts.
After he spent last offseason working on his conditioning, Guerrero Jr. entered camp in the best shape we’ve seen him in as a professional, and it’s paid off on both sides of the ball. In addition to becoming arguably the best hitter in the American League, Vlad Jr. has also become an asset on defence since his move to first base, routinely picking balls out of the dirt. Playing first base hurts his case a bit when it comes to the WAR measures, but there’s no doubt that he’s one of the most valuable corner infielders in the game.
What Blue Jays fans should be truly excited about is the fact that he’s doing this in his first full season as a big leaguer. He played in 123 games as a rookie after being called up in late April, and was held to just 60 games in the pandemic shortened season last year. He was far from a rookie when this season began, but we have to remember that most players his age are still working on their craft in the minor leagues. Guerrero Jr. is a legitimate middle of the order threat in one of the best lineups in baseball, and also the All-Star game MVP from this summer.
He may come up just a little short of his MVP aspirations in 2021, but this will be just the first of many times we’ll see his name among the top candidates for the award. And who knows, if he catches fire for the final six games and helps push the Blue Jays into the playoffs, don’t write him off as a potential winner this year either.