Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. named Minor League Player of the Year

September 07, 2018 - 5:41 pm
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Kyle Powell reporting
@kyle_powell2

Much to no one's surprise, über-prospect Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. took home some serious honors this season for his efforts in the minor leagues in 2018.  The third baseman was named 2018 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.  While it was not the September call-up that fans and (probably) player would have anticipated and enjoyed, this honor is the next-best thing for a young man who has yet to exit his teenage years.  

Guerrero, Jr.'s 2018 campaign spanned four different minor league levels.  In the Gulf Coast League, baseball's third-ranked prospect hit .333 in three games with the GCL Blue Jays.  With Dunedin in the Florida State League, Guerrero, Jr. played a single game for rehabilitation purposes, wherein he hit .500 over four at-bats; he tallied a double and two runs batted in.

An extended stint in Double-A with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats was where the majority of Guerrero, Jr.'s damage was done.  Over 61 contests against Double-A competition, with a knee injury missed in that cost him a month of action, he compiled a .402 batting average to go along with 14 homeruns and 60 runs batted in.  Once Guerrero, Jr. was again healthy enough to prove worthy of another promotion, he was sent up the ladder yet again to Triple-A Buffalo.  He spent his final 30 games of the summer in the International League with the Bisons, a place he abused for six homeruns, 16 runs batted in, and a .336 average.  To make matters more impressive, Guerrero, Jr. walked more than he struck out (15:10).  This was the only level where Guerrero, Jr. boasted that claim.

Over these 95 games played, the son of 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Vladimir Guerrero racked up 20 homeruns, 78 runs batted in, a whopping .437 on-base percentage, a 1.073 on-base-plus slugging percentage, and a cool .381 batting average.  Up until the waning games of the campaign, there was an outside chance that Guerrero, Jr. could have eclipsed the .400-mark in the batting average department.  Unfortunately, over the last 10 games of the season he only hit .308, falling short of the milestone.

The undoubted highlight of Guerrero, Jr.'s season was a four-game span with the Bisons from August 8th-11th, where he popped a homerun in those four consecutive games.  His efforts earned him International Batter of the Week honors.  Buffalo went 2-2 over that span of time.

As mentioned earlier, the end result that would have stood as "icing on the cake" of an incredible season would have been a September call-up for the 19-year-old.  With service time playing such a major role in today's game of baseball, though, the Toronto Blue Jays stood pat and opted not to start Guerrero, Jr.'s clock of control until some point in 2019.

Look for Guerrero, Jr. to make his much-anticipated Major League debut mid-way through April of next season.  It is expected that the organization will be taking a book out of the pages of the Chicago Cubs (Kris Bryant, April 17th, 2015) and the Atlanta Braves (Ronald Acuña, Jr., April 25th, 2018) and promote their top-rated prospect shortly after the season begins.

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