Black MLB Players #7: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a twenty one year old third baseman that plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. He is the son of former MLB outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Sr., who was recently inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2018. Vlad Jr. was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada but was raised in the Dominican Republic. Vlad Jr. grew up around baseball, he was somewhat of a mainstay in the Montreal Expos clubhouse as a kid, and Pedro Martinez is his godfather. He comes from an Afro-Latino family that is considered baseball royalty, his uncle Wilton and cousin Gabriel reaching the majors along with his father. The Guerrero family has also had countless other members play in the minor leagues over the years. The Guerrero family runs a prestigious baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, headed by Wilton, who Vlad Jr. trained under while his father was still playing in the majors.
Vlad Jr. became an eligible free agent in 2015 and ranked as a consensus top international prospect by a large majority of reputed entities that cover the development of baseball prospects. He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for $3.9 million dollars at the age of 16 and debuted professionally the next year at the age of 17, playing for Toronto’s minor league affiliate of the Rookie Advanced League for 62 games. After the 2016 season, Vladito was ranked as one of the best prospects in baseball. From 2017–2019, Vlad Jr. never posted an OPS below .900 in the minor leagues, establishing himself as one of the best baseball prospects of all time in the process. He created unprecedented hype and neared mythological status as the baseball world clamored for his major league debut. After playing 13 games at Triple-A Buffalo in 2019, he made his major league debut for the Toronto Blue Jays on April 26th, 2019. Hitting a ringing double in the bottom of the ninth inning, he started a rally which led to the Blue Jays winning the game.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is 6'2'’, and weighs around 250 pounds, being an extremely large and imposing human being. He bats and throws right handed. He doesn’t project to be a third baseman long term because he lacks the lateral quickness and agility to cover ground, and may move across the diamond to first base. From an offensive standpoint, his bat will play anywhere on the diamond. Vladito shows the rare ability to hit for contact and power without striking out a lot, along with good enough bat control to hit the ball to all fields. He possesses an exceptional knowledge of the strike zone, being a patient hitter at the plate with an approach thats uncommon for a twenty one year old. He swings the bat with little effort and inhuman bat speed, and his swing is eerily similar to his father’s. From a long term standpoint, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. projects to be an offensive-oriented infielder that drives in runs and provides an astronomical amount of value when he steps in the batter’s box, and only being 21 years old, he has a long career ahead of him to accomplish that.