Biggest Flirt: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Now I know what you’re thinking, and no, to my knowledge, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was not a notorious locker room flirt this past season. This isn’t what I mean by flirt, so allow me to explain what I really mean. In 2021, Vladdy lived up to all the hype and was arguably the best hitter in baseball. In 2022, many were hoping that he would solidify himself as one of the best hitters in the game, but he was never really able to make it over the hump. Instead, he finished the season with a 132 WRC+, down 34 points from the previous year, and his home run total dropped from 48 to 32.
Over the course of the season, Vladdy would show glimpses of being the player that many thought he could be, but it would never stick. He was still among the league’s best when it came to hitting the ball hard, leading MLB in balls hit 95+ mph, and was right near the top of every other exit velocity and hard-hit category. The issue was, a lot of these balls were hit right into the ground, as he finished with the fourth-highest ground ball rate in the AL. It was this back and forth of him having these incredible games where he hits the hardest home run you’ve ever seen, but all the other games where he goes 0-4 with three groundouts that led to the disappointing results. That’s why he was the biggest flirt. He would routinely flirt with greatness and make you remember why he was so hyped entering this season, but that’s all he ever really did.
It’s not that he was bad this season, he was actually really good and will likely be a candidate to win his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award, he just wasn’t as good as we maybe thought he was going to be. We all thought that this season would be the year he showed the baseball world that he was one of, if not the best hitter in the majors, but all that really ended up happening was a bunch of flirting.