SAN DIEGO — After a 32-homer, 97-RBI season last year, there were plenty of people wondering exactly what happened to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2022. The Toronto Blue Jays All-Star certainly wasn’t bad, but he didn’t live up to his 2021 numbers.
The previous season had set the bar high for the 23-year-old Guerrero, after finishing second in the American League MVP voting (and grumbling about it) following a season where he slashed .311/.401/.601 (leading the AL in the last two categories) and posted an AL-high OPS+ of 167. However, a slump in May short-circuited his chance of matching those numbers in 2022, leaving people wondering what was to come in 2023.
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider believes big things to come for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2023
During his time with the media on Monday here at the MLB Winter Meetings, Toronto manager John Schneider said that he believes his slugging first baseman will make a large impact next season.
“He’s driven. He’s talented. He’s one of the best hitters in the league,” Schneider said. “We’re confident he’s still going to … you’re still looking at .280 with 30 and 100 in a down year, or whatever it ended up at.
“I think Vladi getting back to being an absolute threat every time he steps in the box is going to really help us.”
Guerrero could be a big part of Toronto potentially catching the defending division champion New York Yankees in 2023. It’s already been an interesting offseason between the two teams, with Guerrero stating he would never sign with the Yankees “not even dead” and he prefers to “kill the Yankees.” Additionally, Toronto pitcher Alek Manoah recently called Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole the worst cheater in baseball history.
The Blue Jays will need Guerrero to return to MVP form in 2023 for a division title and deep postseason run to happen, and Schneider believes another year under his belt will pay big dividends for Guerrero.
“We forget, he’s so young, and him adjusting to the league I think was a big part of his year in 2022,” Schneider said. “And how he’s going to do that going into 2023 is going to be a big part of what we are as an offense.”