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Photo Credit: Joel Dinda on Flickr/CC

So… Vlad Jr. Is Handling the Florida State League Quite Well

So… uh… how is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doing since his promotion from the Low-A Midwest League to High-A Dunedin? Preeeeeetty. Preeeeetty. Preeeetty. Pretty good.

In his first 160 plate appearances in what’s generally known as a pitcher friendly league, Vladito has slashed a stunning .336/.456/.492. That’s a better line than he put up in Lansing! (Where he slashed “just” .316/.409/.480 before his promotion).

It’s early days for him still, I guess, but… uh… holy shit! (Then again, is this kind of success really “holy shit”-worthy for a kid that Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline has now boldly (and I think only half-unseriously) predicted will be the first son of a Hall of Famer to himself be enshrined in Cooperstown? Maybe it isn’t!)

Guerrero has won the Florida State League Player of the Week award, it was announced today:

He’s one of three Blue Jays prospects to make this week’s MLB Pipeline prospect Team of the Week:

I’m not even sure which of the three home runs he hit this weekend that this is. Because he hit three of the damn things!

* * *

Vlad is, according to the weighted age calculations at Baseball Reference, 4.8 years younger than the average Florida State League player. FOUR POINT EIGHT YEARS. For context: the Jays’ two most recent top draft picks are Logan Warmoth and Nate Pearson; Pearson turned 21 over the weekend, Warmoth will turn 22 in September, next March Vlad will turn 19. NINETEEN!

I’m not saying that Vlad is going to continue to go Beast Mode on the FSL, because we’re still talking about pretty small samples here, but the numbers he’s put up so far even include a bit of an adjustment period!

Over his first 57 plate appearances at the level he managed just 11 hits, all singles. He slashed .224/.316/.224 over 12 games as he got used to his new — and surely quite temporary — home.

Since then? In 103 plate appearances he’s put up 32 hits, six doubles, a triple (!), and four home runs. He’s walked 22 times. Of the 23 games in that span he’s got a hit in all but two and been on base in all but one. His slash line is an absurd .405/.534/.658.

If you look at a wRC+ leaderboard of FSL hitters with at least 130 plate appearances this year, Vlad now appears second. Only Danny Jansen, the Jays’ breakout catching prospect, a 22-year-old who was trying the level for the second time earlier this year, is ahead of him. The next teenager on the list — in fact, the next player age 20 or below on it — is 32 points behind Vlad’s 180 wRC+ mark. (It’s Bo Bichette. LOL!).

And the next teenager on the list is… nonexistent. Kids this young simply do not get to the Florida State League.  That, in and of itself, kinda speaks volumes. (The last player in his age 18 season to get at least 130 PA there was the Mets’ Wilmer Flores in 2010!)

And Vlad is dominating so far.

The stat line, of course, doesn’t mean as much as we’d like to hope. Anthony Alford had a wRC+ of 153 in the FSL as a 20-year-old in 2015. Rowdy Tellez, also 20, put up a 143, and another 20-year-old, Harold Ramirez, then of the Pirates, had a 163 that year. Those numbers don’t feel quite so impressive or indicative of budding superstars now. But those are 20-year-olds. Vlad is eighteen-goddamned-years-old. And Vlad controls the strike zone like a motherfucker — he’s struck out just 57 times in 478 plate appearances this season between Lansing and Dunedin, with 68 walks.

It’s some next level shit. It’s… I mean… stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but… uh… he’s real fuckin’ good. Not call-him-up-to-the-majors-right-now good like the hockey crowd might figure, but awfully fucking good. Staggeringly good. Really, really, really good. And, it sure as hell seems, already showing signs that he’s capable of thriving at the next level — and, inevitably, in relatively short time, the next one after that, and then the next one (the BIG one).

It’s a hell of a fun thing to contemplate. It’s going to be a hell of a fun thing to watch.

 

  • ErnieWhitt

    You want to control yourself when thinking about vlad and you rightly point to other players who excelled in the fsl as a way to temper the eye popping numbers, but with Vlad, perhaps what is most strinking is how professional all of his best traits are. To hit like he has is incredible, but to also walk like he has means he’s up there taking PRO at bats. He’s not just riding a wave, he’s mashing in the same way that Josh Donalson goes off in his best weeks. To be almost 5 years young for a league and to show how his ceiling so clearly is remarkable. The Jays system has had an incredible year even without vlad, but its actually insane to think of how good the Jays future looks with him right now. At this rate he fits Stroman and Sanchez’ peak and that’s nuts.

  • Seguaro

    Going down to Florida next week to see the Dunedin Jays in action. As they’re comfortably in second place in their division, playoffs are a probability. Best $6 you can spend plus of course $1 beers.