This future MLB superstar has been crushing minor league competition. Is it time for the Toronto Blue Jays to call him up?
The son of Hall-of-Fame electee Vladimir Guerrero is an absolute stud. Only 19 years old, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. seems to be coming out with a new, mind-blowing highlight every week. He currently plays for the Toronto Blue Jays’ Double-A squad, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Blue Jays sit in third place in the American League East, having dropped seven of their last ten games. They could certainly use a boost to get them out of their funk.
Vlad Jr. has been on the radar of prospect hounds for a few years, but he really began raising heads this season with his walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth in an exhibition game in Montreal. He wore his father’s famous number 27 in the old stomping grounds of the soon-to-be Hall of Famer. His father tweeted out a video in a surreal fashion that encapsulated all of his memories as a member of the Montreal Expos.
Through 32 games this season, Guerrero has a .405 batting average with a whopping 1.119 OPS. He has hit six homers to go with 38 RBIs on the season. Guerrero is a versatile hitter with evident power. Almost all of his hits can be found on Twitter as of late, especially when he clobbers the ball like in the video below.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) May 8, 2018
In the field, Guerrero can be found playing third base, but also has seen time as the designated hitter for the Fisher Cats. He continues to learn how to play third base, as he has five errors on the season in 29 games while in the field. Yet his strong arm is unquestionably a valuable commodity at the hot corner. But with Josh Donaldson in a contract year, the Blue Jays may still be grooming Guerrero to take over third base next year.
Guerrero just turned 19 during spring training, so the Blue Jays are still searching for the best way to ease him into the major-league level. The organization obviously understands his potential, but how can the team utilize him most efficiently without hampering his development as a well-rounded player? The Blue Jays see the minor leagues as a more worthwhile place for Guerrero to round out his game, so it may not be as significant a rush to bring him up as baseball fans view it. However, with the early-season struggles of Kendrys Morales, there may be an opening at DH sooner than later.
Baseball has seen mixed success in recent years when bringing up bright, young stars with loads of potential under the age of 21. Mike Trout was also 19 in his first call-up in 2011, and he utterly failed in two stints in the majors that season. He did a complete 180 in 2012, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award as well as finishing as the runner-up in a competitive AL MVP race.
Last season, fans saw the rise of 21-year-old Cody Bellinger and 20-year-old Rafael Devers for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, respectively. Both clubs won division titles, and Bellinger and Devers made vital contributions down the stretch for their teams. But this season, Devers has fallen back a bit offensively and clearly needs work at third base. Meanwhile, Bellinger and the whole Dodgers team is collectively struggling in 2018. Bellinger was even benched in late April for not hustling.
This season, the New York Yankees have utilized stud 21-year-old Gleyber Torres in their run to the best record in baseball. The Atlanta Braves have been a breakout team in 2018, riding 21-year-old Ozzie Albies and 20-year-old Ronald Acuna to the top record in the National League. It is still early in the season, so it will take some time to fully scope these three stars’ success in the majors. They are continuing to develop into all-around players; but like Devers and Bellinger, they may be subject to drop-offs in the near future.
This saga is so far-fetched that Guerrero had to joke with fans about being called up.
Check that location tag on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s latest Instagram post.
— theScore (@theScore) May 14, 2018
With the location in New York and the Blue Jays playing there this week for a two-game series, Guerrero saw a prime opportunity to pretend to break his call-up news. The Instagram picture turned out to be a repost from December, but Guerrero Jr. definitely grabbed some fans’ attention for a short period of time.
Surely, Guerrero Jr. is a jokester, but the young talent has a bright potential in this league. He’s a monster—just look at this shot off a tee:
— NH Fisher Cats (@FisherCats) May 7, 2018
Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s time will come for the Toronto Blue Jays. But when is the most practical time to call him up to the majors?