The Blue Jays are averaging more than seven runs per game so far in June, and while the offence is finally rolling, something is still missing.
That certainly wasn’t the case on Friday night as the Blue Jays rudely welcomed themselves to Comerica Park in Detroit, scoring six runs over the first two innings and jumping out to a lead that would never be in danger. Jose Berrios was excellent for the second outing in a row, and everybody chipped in on offence on route to a 10-1 win over the Tigers to open their three-game series.
While several hitters have been heating up this month, including Alejandro Kirk, Bo Bichette, and more, arguably the most talented of them all has still been mired in a bit of a funk. It was an encouraging sight to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. join the hit parade last night and pick up two of his own, but he’s really been struggling so far this season, which makes it all the more impressive that the Blue Jays have been playing so well lately.
By no means am I saying this to pick on Guerrero Jr., but more so to point out just how deep and dangerous this Blue Jays lineup can be. What they’re doing now is largely without the best of Vlad Jr., and if he can find the stroke led him to a 2nd place finish in AL MVP voting last year, this team could be borderline unstoppable. The same could be said for others who haven’t quite hit their stride this season, such as 2x Silver Slugger winner Teoscar Hernandez, but Vlad Jr. is the turbo in the Blue Jays’ engine that can really make their offence a special one.
After last night’s 2-5 performance against the Tigers, here are Guerrero Jr’s splits over the last seven, 15, and 30 games.
Last 7 games
.207/.281/.552, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6-19 overall
Last 15 games
.220/.303/.576, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 13-59 overall
Last 30 games
.211/.313/.396, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 24-114 overall
As you can clearly see, Guerrero Jr. is not only missing the standard that he set last season, he’s barely even playing up to his 2019-20 levels of performance, at least in the batter’s box.
If you look at his baseball savant page, a lot of the numbers look fairly encouraging as usual. He’s in the 96th percentile for Average Exit Velocity and Hard Hit %, and naturally in the 99th for Max Exit Velocity. However, it’s a bit surprising to see his chase rate all the way down to the 33rd percentile, although I don’t expect that number to last.
Vladdy’s slump has lasted long enough now that I think it’s fair to ask what’s going on with him these days, although I’m not going to go there at the moment. Thankfully the rest of the lineup is starting to click, as evidenced by their 65 runs over the last nine games, and I have nothing but faith that at some point in the very near future Vlad Jr. will be leading the charge.
When you think about it, it’s pretty incredible that the Blue Jays have won 12 of their last 15 games, and had it happen while their best hitter is still searching for his stroke. Hopefully his two-hit performance on Friday evening is the start of Guerrero Jr’s bat waking up, because when that major piece of the puzzle fits the way it’s meant to, look out.