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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. secures American League Player of the Week amidst exemplary power surge

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Photo credit:© Kevin Sousa - USA Today
Evan Stack
16 days ago
Blame it on the hair cut if you’d like, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took his game to a new level last week while facing a pair of AL East foes.
That level turned out to be some of the best baseball he has played in his career, and it wound up earning him his fourth career American League Player of the Week Award. In six games last week against the Red Sox and Yankees, Guerrero Jr. slashed .500/.519/1.154 with four home runs, 17 RBIs, and five doubles. Cincinnati Reds 2B Jonathan India took home the award for the National League.
This marks the third consecutive instance that Guerrero Jr. has won the award during the month of June. He won the award twice as a rookie in 2019, once in 2021, and once more in 2022, but this stretch of baseball has statistically been the best of that bunch. Not only were the individual stats impressive, but Guerrero Jr.’s performance ignited some of Toronto’s best offense as a team this season. In fact, the Blue Jays scored over their runs per game average of 4.04 runs per game in five of their six games last week.
Last Monday, Guerrero Jr. kicked off his campaign by hitting the longest home run of his career, as well as the third-longest home run in Fenway Park’s history. He smashed a three-run home run against Boston reliever Isaiah Campbell 471 feet to give Toronto a 6-2 lead at the time. Guerrero Jr. also hit a home run in each of the first three games in Toronto’s last series against the Yankees. Once his last homer was hit on Saturday, he had hit a home run in six of his last eight games.
 
Vladdy winning an AL Player of the Week award isn’t going to solve all of Toronto’s problems, but what we’re seeing from Guerrero Jr. right now is extremely encouraging. The first baseman slashed a very underwhelming .229/.331/.348 during March and April, and even though his average took a massive step up in May, Guerrero Jr. was mainly hitting singles. In fact, only seven of Guerrero Jr.’s 35 hits in May were for extra bases.
He nearly doubled that number in June, collecting fifteen extra-base hits (8 homers, 7 doubles) within his 34 hits for the month. His hard-hit rate stayed prevalent, but the launch angle increases were what fans have been yearning to see from Guerrero Jr. since he was a rookie.
This past week has enhanced Guerrero Jr.’s case on making his fourth consecutive All-Star game. It was recently announced that he and Orioles 1B Ryan Mountcastle had made the final phase of voting, and those two will duel for the starting nod. Guerrero Jr. was unfortunately scratched from Monday’s lineup against Astros after still experiencing some discomfort in his ring and pinky fingers. He was hit on the hand by a Gerrit Cole fastball during Sunday’s game against the Yankees, and X-rays would turn out negative.

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