Vladimir Guerrero Jr. arrived in the big leagues with plenty of spotlight, and now he appears to be hitting his stride at the plate.
Since making his big league debut on April 26, perhaps due to playing for a last place team and not producing at prestigious levels befitting his status as the top prospect in all of baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has fallen off the radar a bit.
But while you may not have been looking, in the midst of trade deadline speculation, the budding star seems to be hitting his stride.
After going 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night, Guerrero has multiple hits on four of his last five games with four home runs and 16 RBI over that span. Going back to his last 12 games, he has a .417/.472/.813 slash-line (1.284 OPS) with five home runs, four doubles, 10 runs scored and 21 RBI.
Guerrero’s pace over his last dozen games is obviously not sustainable, and his .417 BABIP over that span will correct downward. But he has been striking out a little bit less rate-wise over that recent stretch (and walking a little less too) compared to his season as a whole, and his season-long BABIP (.292) was due for some positive correction.
Via FanGraphs, Guerrero is still hitting a lot of ground balls over his recent hot streak (39 percent, 47.3 percent for the season). But he is hitting more line drives (24.4 percent, 17.2 percent for the season and making more hard contact (46.3 percent, 37.7 percent for the season). Those latter two spikes lead easily to the increase in his BABIP.
A quick glance at Guerrero’s overall numbers this year won’t greatly inspire (.267/.341/.456 slash-line, 13 home runs and 47 RBI over 79 games-331 plate appearances). But it’s clear the 20-year old has found his stride against big league pitching, with a nearly even K/BB ratio (7:5) over his last 12 games to reflect a level of pure adjustment as the buzz around him gives way to Guerrero starting to become a star.