These days, it is difficult for a first baseman to generate much support when it comes to the MVP award. With defense being such a key component for WAR these days, and with the focus on sabermetrics, first basemen need to put forth a superhuman effort to become a part of the conversation. Essentially, they need to be the player that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays have been waiting for Guerrero’s breakout season. He has consistently hit the ball hard since being called up to the majors, but the power numbers were not there. One could easily see his power potential, especially during the 2019 Home Run Derby, but it had not translated to game action in the majors.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. posting MVP caliber season for Toronto Blue Jays
That wait is over. Guerrero has become the player that the Blue Jays were waiting on, completely dominating with the bat. Heading into Sunday, he had posted a .338/.439/.672 batting line, hitting 18 homers and 11 doubles in his 239 plate appearances. This uptick in power has not changed his batting eye, as he has drawn 33 walks while striking out just 34 times.
Guerrero’s name is all over the leaderboard. He currently leads the American League in batting average, on base percentage, slugging, homers, total bases, intentional walks, and bWAR. He also ranks second in hits and RBI, third in runs scored, and fourth in extra base hits. His on base percentage, home runs, and OPS lead the majors.
With the Blue Jays young roster and numerous pitching prospects on the cusp of reaching the majors, Toronto seems to be on the verge of putting together a team that can perennially contend. Guerrero will be a key part of that, their power hitting first baseman/designated hitter for the foreseeable future.
At 22 years old, it is also possible that Guerrero will get even better. As a player’s hypothetical prime does not begin until they turn 27 years old, he still has plenty of time to improve. Should he take another step forward similar to what he has done this year, Guerrero may be able to push his father as the best player in his family.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is putting together an impressive start to the 2021 season. The Toronto Blue Jays have a true MVP candidate on their hands.