They often say that patience is a virtue and the Toronto Blue Jays are starting to see that now with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
There was a lot of concern for how his 2020 season went but anyone who kept track of his offseason knows he wanted to learn from his mistakes. His commitment to better eating and workout habits off the field are now starting to pay off big time.
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Through 13 games this season, Guerrero Jr. is slashing an impressive .413/.526/.674 with three home runs and 10 RBI. On top of that, he’s showing more comfort playing first base which was an adventure last season.
At 22-year-olds, this should just be the start for Guerrero Jr. considering the potential he had as the top prospect in baseball at one point. He continues to show a great approach at the plate which tends to be a challenge for young hitters.
What many will be looking for is whether this is just a hot streak from Guerrero Jr. or if this is what we can come to expect from him. His emergence has been something the Blue Jays lineup needed with George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez sidelined.
Toronto Blue Jays: Power at the plate leading Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s success
When Guerrero Jr. hit a 456-foot home run against the Kansas City Royals, you can’t help but see it as a callback to 2019.
At Progressive Field in Cleveland, Guerrero Jr. smashed an MLB-record 91 home runs. You don’t do that without having some power to show off and this is something fans have been waiting for since that day.
It has certainly been a big part of his success at the plate and what has made him stood apart. Interesting enough, according to baseball-reference, Guerrero Jr. had a better hard-hit rate (balls hit over 95 MPH) in 2020 at 51.1 per cent than he does in 2021 where he is at 47.2 per cent.
The difference right now is that Guerrero has cut down on the percentage of ground balls he’s hit this season. Last season he had a ground ball percentage of 54.6 per cent and this season he’s at 41.7 per cent.
So really, he isn’t hitting the ball any harder, he’s just getting it out of the infield which was obviously a problem. It also helps that he’s walking at a 15.8 per cent rate which is almost twice of what he had last season.
Having that patience and getting the ball up in the air has been a major bonus to Guerrero Jr.’s production this season. If this is just the beginning for Vlad then this could be a fun season for Toronto.
What are your thoughts on Guerrero Jr.’s season so far? Do you think he can improve on his production? Let us know in the comments below.