Everything you need to know about Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the rookie who may just save the Blue Jays
Blue Jays fans have a new obsession, and his name is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Whatever you call him—“Vlad,” “Vladdy”, “Vladito,” “The Chosen One”—Guerrero, 20, is the consensus top prospect in all of baseball. After four seasons in the minors, the Blue Jays finally called him up to the big leagues on Wednesday. He’ll finally grace the turf at Rogers Centre tomorrow, in what has become a ridiculously anticipated debut.
Here’s what we know about one of the franchise’s most exciting young names.
He comes from baseball royalty
Vladdy’s father, Vladimir Guerrero Sr., was a talented player in his own right. A Hall-of-Famer who played eight seasons with the Montreal Expos, the elder Guerrero was best known for his uncanny ability to hit terrible pitches for home runs. He’s the 40th-place all-time home-run hitter, with 449 to his credit—not a bad person to have as your mentor.
Vlad Jr. undoubtedly learned loads by growing up around baseball. Reporters are already noticing his professionalism and acumen.
He has a sense of humour
Like any 20-year-old, Guerrero likes to joke around. Last year, he pranked Blue Jays fans by posting an Instagram shot of himself at New York’s JFK Airport—the same airport the team had flown into just hours earlier, leading many Jays fans to believe that he’d been called up. He had actually taken that picture a year earlier. Good one, Vlad.
Ok, after literally scrolling it seems Vlad posted the same picture on Insta today that he did in December. pic.twitter.com/FjdDHWrGU6
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) May 14, 2018
He’s a really, really good hitter
The word “phenomenal” doesn’t really do Vladimir Guerrero Jr. justice. Vladdy destroyed minor-league pitching, launching 20 home runs in 95 games last season.
He was named Baseball America’s best prospect two years in a row. MLB.com surveyed some scouts who think Vlad Jr. probably ranks among the best offensive prospects of all time, and Fangraphs thinks his stats to date are as promising as those of elite talents like Mike Trout and Kris Bryant.
He’s got Canadian roots
Vlad Jr. was born in Montreal, meaning he has Canadian citizenship. Although he was raised in the Dominican Republic, he’s deeply rooted in Canada. Guerrero’s mother was born in Montreal and speaks fluent French.
In one of 2018’s best moments, he hit a walk-off home run in spring training while the Blue Jays were playing an exhibition game in Montreal, just like his father did on many occasions while playing with the Expos:
He’s what’s next for the team
Though fellow prospects Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio (also sons of former big-leaguers) are poised to be important players for the Blue Jays over the next few seasons, Guerrero is the future. In a team-oriented sport like baseball, catalysts, especially offensive ones, are vital to achieving long-term success. That’s the hope for Guerrero: that he’ll become the energy source for a revitalized lineup with enough talent and motivation to help the team regain some of the success it enjoyed at the end of the Bautista era.