HomeTeamsBlue JaysVladimir Guerrero Jr’s Season at the Crossroads

Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s Season at the Crossroads

First off, thank you to MLBreport for bringing me aboard!  I look forward to talking about my favourite team, my hometown, Toronto Blue Jays, and injecting some Canadiana into this site.

Where should I begin?  With a man who, in 2023, was our biggest enigma, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

After the junior Guerrero’s 2021 season, when he led the American League in runs (123), home runs (48), on-base percentage (.401), slugging (.601), OPS (1.002) and OPS+ (167), he was 22.  His peak was ahead of him, and Jays fans were planning his Cooperstown plaque next to his father.  After 2023, those plans were put on hold.

It wasn’t that Guerrero’s play fell off a cliff, but 26 HR, .788, and 2,0 bWAR is not exceptional for a first baseman in this era.  The infectious smile and likeable demeanour were still there, but the aura was gone.  Dealing with nagging injuries, Guerrero Jr, through the year, his exit velocity was down three percent (95.1 to 92.1) from 2021, and even without that metric, eyeballs sang the same song.  When Guerrero went deep in the past, he lined his shots over the fence, but last season, he was trying more to get under the ball and launch it.  Mechanically, he looked different.  Was he tinkering with his swing, r overcompensating from discomfort?

It is not just the power numbers that are down; his batting average (.264) was his lowest since 2020.  His .345 OBP is his second-best finish, but a far cry from his .401 in ’21.  At times over the past two seasons, Guerrero looked like he was trying too hard, swinging at pitches he would not have before, which again raises the question of overcompensating.

Before Spring Training began, Vlad told reporters he felt healthy and in shape, like he used to be.  It gives pre-2021 vibes, where he shed nearly 60 pounds, and while he shapeshifts like Jonah Hill, let’s say that this is the version that hangs out with Leonardo DiCaprio and not Seth Rogan.  Thus far, Guerrero is killing it this March, with a 1.190 OPS over 33 plate appearances, and though this is not regular-season competition, it is an omen that Jays fans are viewing with optimism.

If Guerrero Jr. recaptures 2021, the Jays have the difference maker that could bring them to the promised land.  A rejuvenated Guerrero could be the difference between the post-season and October golf in the packed AL East.

For the Blue Jays, it all starts at first (base). 

Kirk Buchner
Kirk Buchner
Owner/Operator at the Notinhalloffame.com network @notinhalloffame


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