Vladdy isn't hitting home runs but he's quietly turning things around at the plate

The overall results may still not be up to par, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been low-key producing at the plate for the Toronto Blue Jays in recent games.
Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

It's undoubtedly tough times for the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans, with the team sitting at 17-21 following Friday night's 3-2 home loss to the Minnesota Twins. At the time of writing, they are last in the AL East and already 6.0 games out of a Wild Card spot with nearly a quarter of the regular season completed.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but the offence has looked particularly disappointing thus far in 2024. As of Saturday morning, they are ranked 27th among all Major League teams in runs, 22nd in batting average, 25th in slugging percentage and 24th in OPS.

However, if there's one bright spot to highlight in the lineup -- and in fairness there is a few -- it's been the recent production of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the plate. We're not going to go as far as proclaiming he's going to have an MVP-calibre season, but the signs are there that he has rediscovered his mojo.

Guerrero at his lowest ebb

Consider that following the demoralising 12-2 beat-down at home in the opening game of the Blue Jays' recent series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, Guerrero was at a low point. He had a horrendous slash line of .206/.319/.324 and a .643 OPS.

For a player of his natural talent with the bat, this was inexcusable for the three-time All-Star. Since then however, he seems to have had a wake-up call, dug deep within himself and is now finally showing what he's capable of.

Consider that in the last 11 games, Guerrero has racked up hits in all but one appearance (in which he still reached base via walk). In total he has 16 hits in 44 at-bats, which translates to a .364 batting average.

As a result, the 2021 AL MVP runner up has seen his slash line and OPS jump up to .253/.347/.377 and .724 respectively. He has quietly begun to turn things around, albeit he's not quite all the way back as of yet.

Still a need for more power

In truth, the main reason you would describe Guerrero's recent form as under the radar, is due to him still not hitting for much power. He's managed just the one home run and six RBI during the recent hitting streak, with his homer and four of the RBI all coming in one game versus the Washington Nationals (which was incidentally a 11-8 loss).

However, as noted by Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez on Friday night's broadcast, the 25-year-old is beginning to turn those hard hit ground balls into fly balls. In other words he's elevating the ball better, which should hopefully mean the home runs are coming for a player who is good for 30+ in an average season. He only has four overall to date in 2024.

We fully appreciate an unspectacular turnaround at the plate by an underachieving superstar may not sound like much to get excited about for Blue Jays fans right now. After all, as already mentioned, the team is under .500 and the players as a whole are not performing up to their collective talent level.

Next. The tune around John Schneider and his job security is rapidly changing. The tune around John Schneider and his job security is rapidly changing. dark

At the same time however, there has to at least be some encouragement, in seeing Guerrero show mental fortitude in bouncing back from his truly awful start to the 2024 regular season campaign. Now, if the 2021 Silver Slugger can just rediscover that power which saw him hit 48 home runs at his peak, he could in turn galvanise the rest of the team and turn this year around for the Blue Jays and their angst-ridden fans.

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