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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Vlad Jr. ties MLB HR lead, eyes Triple Crown

The Triple Crown watch is officially on for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who slugged his way into a tie for the MLB lead in home runs on Sunday with his 44th of the season against the Orioles.

Now tied with Shohei Ohtani of the Angels, Guerrero has breathed life back into his season with an incredible two weeks at the plate, including eight home runs over his last 14 games. The 22-year-old took a dip in August, leading to some worry after he had run out of gas late in the season as a rookie and in 2020, but Guerrero is back to powering one of baseball’s most dangerous offenses.

“He’s learning,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “This is the first full year for a lot of these guys, so they need to make an adjustment when they’re tired and he’s done a good job of that. His approach is back. It’s outstanding right now. When his approach at the plate is really good, he’s always going to have a chance to hit one out.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2021 at 09:42 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: vladimir guerrero jr.

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   1. Rally Posted: September 12, 2021 at 10:53 PM (#6039363)
Did the Blue Jays outscore your fantasy football time this weekend?

Probably not, but at least you had to check,
   2. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 13, 2021 at 12:45 AM (#6039382)

A lot of folks here seemed ready to write Guerrero off after he didn't become a superstar by his 21st birthday, and mocked the "best shape of his life articles" prior to this season. I'm glad to see Vlad fulfilling his potential.
   3. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: September 13, 2021 at 02:03 AM (#6039383)
I would like to see Toronto make postseason and win the WC game. They are a very fun team to watch.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2021 at 03:18 AM (#6039385)
In fairness, we mock every "best shape of his life" article as well we should. And my memory is that one was selling "he's getting in the best shape of his life so he can move back to 3B" ... where he has played 2 innings this year. (And the list of players who've started at 3B for the Jays this year is long, varied and unimpressive.)
   5. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2021 at 03:29 AM (#6039386)
By the way, I couldn't find the best shape thread from this spring (I rarely can) although I think I remember it ... I did find one from Feb 2020 which might still seem mock-worthy even in retrospect.

BBTF thread
   6. Smitty* Posted: September 13, 2021 at 06:09 AM (#6039389)
If Vlad does pull off the triple crown, it will be interesting to see how the MVP voting goes. We’ve got a lot of 2012 parallels but with a big new twist.

Not to rehash 2012 too deeply: but Cabrera vs Trout batting lines:

Avg/obp/slg/runs/hr/rbi

Cabrera 330/393/606/109/44/139
Trout. 326/399/564/129/30/83

Batting lines are close. Most would say Cabrera hit better than Trout, but not by much. Then consider Cabrera was a slow, poor fielding 1B while Trout was a CF who stole 49 bases and it’s clear Trout was the better player. WAR of course agrees with 10.5 for Trout and “only” 7.1 for Cabrera. But TRIPLE CROWN wins the vote.

2021 Vlad vs Ohtani

Vlad 319/408/610/113/44/102
Ohtani. 259/361/611/91/44/94

Vlad has been the better hitter, and by a bigger margin than Cabrera had over Trout. Vlad, like Cabrera, is a slow, poor fielding 1B. Ohtani is also an excellent SP rate-wise while handling about 2/3 of a SP workload. WAR of course favors Ohtani, but not by as big of a gap as Trout had (7.8 to 6.0). Unlike Cabrera though, Vlad’s team is clearly better than Ohtani’s. Will TRIPLE CROWN win again, or is Ohtani’s truly historic performance win the voters over?


   7. O Tempura, O Morays ('Spos) Posted: September 13, 2021 at 07:24 AM (#6039392)
Vlad, like Cabrera, is a slow, poor fielding 1B

Citation please.
   8. Adam Starblind Posted: September 13, 2021 at 07:33 AM (#6039393)
Fangraphs shows him as poor at 1B, BBREF about average (slightly below).

Both have him slightly below average on the basepaths.

Verdict: Walt's characterization wasn't generous, but we won't lock him in a mental institution for this particular post.
   9. O Tempura, O Morays ('Spos) Posted: September 13, 2021 at 07:44 AM (#6039394)
Thanks. I find fielding stats inscrutable. By eye, he looks no worse than average on the field or the basepaths. Unlike last year, or the Miggy of a decade ago.

Edit: to be clear, I'm not convinced he's an MVP either.
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 13, 2021 at 08:16 AM (#6039395)
I don't know how Ohtani isn't the MVP - the novelty of what he is accomplishing, the season-long storyline, etc...Vlad is awesome, but the intangibles are working overtime for Ohtani.
   11. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 13, 2021 at 08:40 AM (#6039396)
I'm a Jays fans and I don't think Vladdy wins the MVP unless Ohtani absolutely collapses as a pitcher in the final few weeks (like, 3 starts of 1.1 IP 5R sort of collapse).
And even then, he still should probably win.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2021 at 09:16 AM (#6039398)
I don't know how Ohtani isn't the MVP - the novelty of what he is accomplishing, the season-long storyline, etc...

Ohtani doesn't even need that extra credit. By bWAR he leads Guerrero 7.8 to 6, by fWAR 7.5 to 6.4. So, Ohtani's been better.

Then I absolutely believe he should get tons of credit for the unique thing he's doing. If he finishes with say 8 WAR combined, a hitter would have to be at 10+ to take the awards, IMHO.
   13. homerwannabee Posted: September 13, 2021 at 09:19 AM (#6039399)
Once Ohtani broke Babe Ruth's 29 home run record as a pitcher, it was his.
That record was thought to be unbreakable.
   14. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: September 13, 2021 at 09:51 AM (#6039401)
Vlad's sprint speed rates as below average but not terrible per the statcast board. Setting the minimum attempts to 100, he places 137 out of 207, right between Kyle Schwarber and Joc Pederson. He's 9th out of 26 if you filter for 1B.

Statcast doesn't go back to 2012, but I'd venture to guess that Cabrera would've been near the bottom of the board.
   15. Darren Posted: September 13, 2021 at 09:57 AM (#6039403)
I've been trying to find this answer and I can't: on days that Ohtani pitches and hits for himself in AL games, what is used as a replacement level to calculate his hitting stats/WAR? It would seem like the default would be to compare him to other pitchers, but Ohtani's bat is replacing the DH's bat, so it would probably make more sense if that was the replacement level. And you might even consider dinging him further for what has to happen with that spot after he leaves the game.

Does anyone know the answer?
   16. Darren Posted: September 13, 2021 at 09:59 AM (#6039404)


Then I absolutely believe he should get tons of credit for the unique thing he's doing. If he finishes with say 8 WAR combined, a hitter would have to be at 10+ to take the awards, IMHO.


Not disagreeing, just curious what you're crediting him for here. Mainly roster flexibility, right? I think you're right that that's quite valuable but I have a hard time figuring exactly how much credit he should get.
   17. Dr. Pooks Posted: September 13, 2021 at 09:59 AM (#6039405)
And my memory is that one was selling "he's getting in the best shape of his life so he can move back to 3B" ... where he has played 2 innings this year.


In fairness to Vlad, the front office decided very early on in his breakout season not to shift him back and forth between 1B and 3B as need demanded in order to provide him with consistency and avoid messing with his hitting success. Which I think everyone would agree was absolutely the right call.

In addition, at least by the eye test, Vlad is a much better defensive 1B than anyone expected right off the bat. He's decent at playing balls hit up the line like a 3B would. He also has been very good relatively at scooping bad throws, which has prevented Bo Bichette at SS and Cavan Biggio at 3B earlier in the season to look worse defensively than they already have.
   18. Darren Posted: September 13, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6039406)
PS. As a Red Sox fan, I am terrified of Vlad and the rest of the Blue Jays lineup as well.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 13, 2021 at 10:14 AM (#6039408)
Not disagreeing, just curious what you're crediting him for here. Mainly roster flexibility, right? I think you're right that that's quite valuable but I have a hard time figuring exactly how much credit he should get.

Credit for doing something everyone thought was undoable. If a guy hit .400 I'd give him the MVP even if someone beat hit WAR handily.

Lots of guys have had big slugging seasons, no one has ever done what Ohtani has.
   20. Darren Posted: September 13, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6039409)
How about Marcus Semien in the MVP conversation. 6.7 bWAR, 6.3 fWAR, playing for a contender, switched positions and excelled at 2B.
   21. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 13, 2021 at 11:14 AM (#6039418)
Vlad and Semien would both be MVP contenders in just about any other season. But I think the award is clearly Ohtani's to lose (although I don't agree with snapper...Ohtani still has to earn it).

Walt, I can't find a link to the "best shape of his life" article from this spring, but there were a few people who said his problem was that he hadn't caught up with the launch angle revolution. I found that interesting in retrospect because, as this article discusses, Vlad's success this year hasn't really been driven by a change in launch angle. His LA has improved a bit, but is still middle-of-the-pack. For Vlad, it's more about Barrel%, which for a guy with unimpressive launch angle numbers, seems just to be about consistently hitting the ball very hard -- even moreso than he was before.
   22. escabeche Posted: September 13, 2021 at 11:17 AM (#6039419)
Ohtani has the same number of home runs with 10 fewer games against the Orioles, the choice is pretty clear
   23. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: September 13, 2021 at 11:24 AM (#6039420)
The Blue Jays have an outside shot at getting four guys to 30 HR/100 RBI. Semian and Vlad are already there, Teoscar Hernandez needs 3 HR. Bichette almost certainly won't get there, but is currently at 23/87.
   24. VCar Posted: September 13, 2021 at 11:35 AM (#6039423)
As a Red Sox fan, I am terrified of Vlad and the rest of the Blue Jays lineup as well.


As an O's fan, I'm terrified of the lineup of whoever we play each night.
   25. Booey Posted: September 13, 2021 at 12:14 PM (#6039430)
WAR aside, as far as narrative bonuses go, it's gotta be Ohtani. The Triple Crown is super fun and I hope Vlad does it*, but when Cabrera** won it, it hadn't been done in 45 years. It's "only" been 9 years now, so it doesn't feel quite as epic (but still really cool) . What Ohtani is doing though literally hasn't been done in a century. It isn't something that even felt possible, honestly.

* I actually hope Shohei and Vlad tie for the HR lead, cuz a pitcher leading the league would be pretty bad a$$ too. Why pick between 2 historic accomplishments when we can have both? :-)

** In fairness to Miggy, he was a slow, poor fielding 3B in 2012, not a 1B as #6 stated.
   26. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 13, 2021 at 12:41 PM (#6039439)
The Vladdy Jr. Best Shape of His Life thread is here.
   27. bunyon Posted: September 13, 2021 at 12:45 PM (#6039441)

* I actually hope Shohei and Vlad tie for the HR lead, cuz a pitcher leading the league would be pretty bad a$$ too. Why pick between 2 historic accomplishments when we can have both? :-)


And a great trivia question possibility. A year in which someone won the triple crown and a pitcher led in HR.
   28. Smitty* Posted: September 13, 2021 at 01:08 PM (#6039446)
Re: 7 and 8 - for the first time in 20 years I don’t mention hating pants and all of a sudden
I’m getting confused for Walt….

Re 25 - duly noted. You are correct that 2012 was the first of the 2 year experiment of moving Miggy back to 3B to make room for Prince
   29. karkface killah Posted: September 13, 2021 at 02:22 PM (#6039465)
Ohtani has the same number of home runs with 10 fewer games against the Orioles, the choice is pretty clear


How did Robbie get blasted on Friday? I was traveling and saw the score at midnight.

Yes, I have an investment in Robbie Cy Young.
   30. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 13, 2021 at 02:41 PM (#6039470)
Then consider Cabrera was a slow, poor fielding 1B

For what it's worth, in the 2012-13 MVP debates, Cabrera was actually a slow, poor-fielding 3B, because the Tigers were playing Prince Fielder at slow, poor-fielding 1B.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: September 13, 2021 at 02:48 PM (#6039473)
Re: 7 and 8 - for the first time in 20 years I don’t mention hating pants and all of a sudden
I’m getting confused for Walt….


I hope you've learned your lesson.
   32. Smitty* Posted: September 13, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6039504)
I’m a little worried we haven’t heard from Walt since then…
   33. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2021 at 06:33 PM (#6039524)
Walt's characterization wasn't generous, but we won't lock him in a mental institution for this particular post.

What'd I say?

In fairness to Vlad, the front office decided very early on in his breakout season not to shift him back and forth between 1B and 3B as need demanded in order to provide him with consistency and avoid messing with his hitting success. Which I think everyone would agree was absolutely the right call.

By "very early in his breakout season" you mean before his breakout season began. His one appearance at 3B didn't come until the bottom of the 7th in the 17th game of the season. There was no flipping back and forth going on at any point of the regular season. In spring, he got only 5 of 17 games at 3B, spread kinda randomly, not the sort of thing you do when you're trying to get a guy ready to play 3B again. (Fox Sports still has 2021 spring training box scores up believe it or not.)

My comment's not an insult to Vlad. He's not a 3B. Neither was Dick Allen. Nobody expected Jim Thome or Miguel Cabrera to last long at 3B either. Nobody cared what sort of shape David Ortiz or Nelson Cruz or Rico Carty or Andre Thornton or Cliff Johnson or ... were in. It's not an insult to the Jays -- of course you don't try to play a big bat out of position. My comment's an insult to "best shape of his life" articles, especially ones so silly they suggest Vlad was going back to 3B. (Assuming I remember the article correctly of course.)

FWIW, Statcast puts him at -5 outs this year which is bottom quintile among all "qualified" IFs and 2nd-worst among 1B (Dalbec) but also not a big deal. "Qualified" because I don't know how statcast/savant define that.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2021 at 06:43 PM (#6039527)
#15 ... I was curious about that too and poked around a bit. He seems to be treated as a DH in AL games (and I assume a P in NL-park games). I don't think I found it documented anywhere but his Rpos this year is -10; Nelson Cruz in 30 fewer PAs is at -11. Maybe I missed one but looks like only 1 of his 21 starts was in an NL park. For a pitcher contrast, Hendricks' Rpos is +9 in just 55 PAs so if Ohtani was getting credit for that, his Rpos would be about 0, not -10.
   35. Smitty* Posted: September 13, 2021 at 08:25 PM (#6039533)
Walt you must have missed the memo. We’re trading places today. You’re supposed to be posting about your opinion of pants
   36. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 13, 2021 at 09:49 PM (#6039541)
Vladdy Jr. just passed Sr. for most home runs in a season by a Guerrero. He now has 45.
   37. Rally Posted: September 13, 2021 at 10:35 PM (#6039553)
That one left the yard in about 1.2 seconds.
   38. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2021 at 03:16 AM (#6039574)
The original BSOHL article acknowledged that Vlad would primarily play 1B this year. It just claimed that he was in better shape.

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