Will the DR’s Guerrero Be Like Father, Like Son?

Vladamir Guerrero, Jr. celebrating. (Photo by NYT/ licensed under CC BY 3.0 )
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News Americas, SANTO DOMINGO, DR, Weds. Feb. 17, 2021: In 2004, Vladimir Guerrero arrived to play for the Anaheim Angels. Led by the bat of this slugger from the Dominican Republic, the Angels would embark on a run of five American League West Division titles in six years. During that 2004 campaign, Guerrero put together a season for the ages and was named the American League’s most valuable player.

Seventeen years later, there’s a sense of deja vu afoot among baseball fans. After an impressive 2020 season that included a post-season appearance, some stellar offseason moves have positioned the Toronto Blue Jays with a legitimate chance to challenge the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees for AL East supremacy. A big reason for this optimism is a talented, young core that is highlighted by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Baseball insiders, noting the potent numbers Guerrero posted during the Dominican Winter League, coupled with his new commitment to fitness that’s led to a buff physique, see a real chance that the Guerreros could become the first father-son tandem to win the AL MVP award. Considering that bettors can still access +2500 odds on Guerrero to win the AL MVP, it might be time to sign up at Bovada sportsbook and utilize the lucrative Bovada bonus to wager on a Guerrero MVP win.

Vladamir Guerrero Sr. (Wikimedia image – licensed under CC BY 3.0)

Dad Delivered

Like his son, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. launched his MLB career in Canada. He was an outfielder with the Montreal Expos. The Angels signed him as a free agent in 2004.

In his first season with the Angels, Guerrero batted .337. He clouted 39 homers and drove in 126 runs. He was the second player in club history to put up .300/30/100 numbers in a season. Guerrero led the AL in runs scored (124), total bases (366) and outfield assists (13). He ranked among the top 10 in the AL in 20 major offensive categories.

Guerrero truly displayed his MVP mettle over the final week of the 2004 regular season. Over the final seven games of the season, he slugged six home runs, scored 10 runs and drove in 11 more, as the Angels overcame a three-game deficit to win the AL West flag. The season prior, the Angels finished 77-85 and 19 games out of first place.

The all-time MLB hits leader among Dominican players until he was surpassed by Adrian Beltre in 2014, the elder Guerrro was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Son Steps Up His Game

Arriving to the big leagues with the Blue Jays in 2019, over 183 MLB games, the younger Guerrero has batted .269 with 24 homers and 102 RBI. He finished sixth in AL rookie of the year voting in 2019.

However, baseball insiders believed that if the portly Guerrero were to make a commitment to fitness, his numbers were capable of launching into the stratosphere. That appears to have been the case during a small sample size he exhibited late last year during a 10-game appearance in the Dominican Winter League.

Playing for Escogido, Guerrero absolutely tore the cover off the ball. Making 42 plate appearances, Vlad Jr. compiled a batting average of .359 with 11 RBI. His on-base percentage was .381, and his OPS showed at .996.

Collecting 14 hits over the 10 games, Guerrero belted a pair of homers, along with four doubles.

During the offseason, Guerrero, 21, shed more than 30 pounds. He cut fatty foods from his diet and consumed nothing but water after 7 p.m. each day. “I finished the season more or less and put that in mind,” Guerrero told the Dominican newspaper elCaribe. “I started with the slow swing and when I lost 20 pounds I started feeling better.”

He also shouldered the blame for not showing up to play last season in better shape.

“I learned after these months of the coronavirus that if you don’t work hard, you can’t be in the Major Leagues,” Guerrero said. “Why do [Fernando] Tatis and [Juan] Soto put up good numbers? Because they work hard.

“I got the hits I got because of the ability that God gave me. But I knew it from the beginning. I know I did it wrong.”