The man dubbed as the preseason consensus pick for the Rookie of the Year might just live up to the hype. Thanks to a second-half surge, Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has closed the gap in the American League Rookie of the Year race.
The 20-year-old entered the 2019 season as the odds-on favourite to finish the year as the best rookie in the American League. After a cold start in the first half, Guerrero has some of the best numbers in baseball post All-Star Break.
His closest competition is Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros, who has torn the cover off the ball since his MLB debut on June 9. It’s a small sample size, but Alvarez has an eye-popping 19 home runs in only 54 games played with the Astros this year.
While Guerrero’s numbers fall a little short in some categories, for the most part, he’s at the top of the heap or within the top five in most offensive categories among American League rookies.
If there’s a case to be made against Alvarez, it’s that he doesn’t have the same workload as his counterparts (only 54 games played) and the Astros have predominantly used him as a designated hitter.
Meanwhile, Guerrero has 93 games under his belt this season and has played the field for 73 of those contests, where Alvarez has eight games in the field.
Prior to the All-Star break, the Blue Jays rookie was a long shot to live up to the preseason hype, but ever since his unforgettable performance at the Home Run Derby, Guerrero’s bat has emerged from a deep freeze.
In the first half, Vladdy posted a slash line of .249/.328/.413 with eight home runs in 25 RBIs. But in the second half, his slash line shot up to .320/.376/.557 with six home runs and 29 RBIs.
His latest numbers are much more in line with the Guerrero everyone expected him to be. Along the way, he’s battled a few injuries this season; Guerrero was struck on the hand by a pitch back in mid-June and the 20-year-old was removed from a game this past weekend because of knee inflammation.
Luckily, he hasn’t spent time on the injured list this season and hasn’t hurt his case for the American League Rookie of the Year. If Guerrero can stay on the field and finish out the season, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be named the Rookie of the Year.