Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Is Special
If you follow prospects as all, you know Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been the talk of the minor leagues. That was the case even before the season started, when he traveled to Montreal, put on his dad’s old number and a hit a walk-off home run in of the final exhibitions of spring training.
Since then, he’s done nothing but hit, hit and hit some more. He entered the Eastern League as its youngest player, and has thoroughly dominated since the first pitch was thrown on Opening Day.
As the second month of the season neared its conclusion, Guerrero was leading the EL in batting average (.433), slugging percentage (.713), hits (77), doubles (18), RBIs (50), total bases (127) and OPS (1.194).
What’s more, he’s gotten better as the season’s gone along. After hitting a merely amazing .380/.442/.582 in April, Guerrero has put together an otherworldly May. In 26 games this month, the prodigious progeny is hitting .475/.514/.818 and has gotten on base in every game.
Let’s step back for a second, though. Take a look at that batting average again. A 19-year-old (who won’t turn 20 until next March) is hitting .475 in a full-season minor league over the course of a month that is almost over (he has three games left in the month).
Four. Seventy. Five. That’s well past amazing, leaps and bounds beyond awesome and is bumping up against downright insanity. It’s nearly unprecedented.
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Month-by-month stats for minor leaguers stretch back to 2005. Since 2005 just 11 players have hit .470 or better in a single month in a full-season minor league. Of that group, just two have done so while amassing more than 100 at-bats: Zack Granite, who hit .470 with Triple-A Rochester last June and former Twins prospect Terry Tiffee, who hit .486 over 26 games and 105 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas, a supreme hitter’s paradise.
If he continues his torrid pace, Guerrero will become the second player to hit .475 in a month over the past 13 seasons. The only other season of .475 or better was put together by a 29-year-old playing in one of the best hitters’ parks in baseball–Las Vegas hit .301 as a team in 2008. Guerrero is hitting in the pitcher friendly Eastern League (the league’s batting average is .249) and is five years younger than the average pitcher he faces. Considering the period from 2005 until now includes more than 50,000 qualifying months of hitters, it means the young Blue Jay is flying among some truly rarified air.