At 19, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is tearing up the Double-A Eastern League in New Hampshire and seems on the fast track to Buffalo – and maybe even Toronto. The son of the Hall of Famer entered the weekend at .388-3-27 in 22 games. His slashline was .388/.452/.624 and his OPS was at 1.075 OPS.
"His performance on the field, certainly offensively, has been really good, really strong," Ben Cherington, Toronto's vice president of baseball operations, said Friday at Coca-Cola Field as the Blue Jays extended their working agreement with the Bisons through 2020. "What we're most proud about with him and of him is how hard he's working on his defense, how much it matters to him to be a great teammate and how much he wants to lead."
Guerrero got national attention Monday night for this blast that hit a hotel beyond the left-field fence. The video had been viewed more than 340,000 times by Tuesday morning. That was one of two home runs on the night, which helped push his season average to .402.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) May 8, 2018
You do have to wonder if there's a point of diminishing returns for Guerrero to so dominate a level that he will no longer feel challenged. Cherington acknowledged the Blue Jays are watching that point closely.
"We want guys to be challenged," he said. "If we felt at some point in total that he wasn't being challenged by a level, then you'd have to start thinking about that. We haven't gotten to that point. ... We'll see. These things work themselves out. It would certainly be our responsibility to Vladdy and ultimately to the Blue Jays to be sure we are challenging him appropriately."
The Blue Jays have Josh Donaldson at third base so there's really no rush with Guerrero, unless they decide to give him DH at-bats in place of Kendrys Morales, who is batting .179. Another Donaldson injury, however, might force their hand.
The Buffalo front office, of course, would love to see a few weeks of Guerrero here to get the inevitable box-office jolt from Southern Ontario fans that the game's top prospect would bring.
Mike Harrington contributed to this report.