Home MLB Vladimir Guerrero Jr. To Make Triumphant Return To Home Run Derby

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. To Make Triumphant Return To Home Run Derby

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. To Make Triumphant Return To Home Run Derby

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has announced his participation in this year’s Home Run Derby, scheduled to take place on July 10 in Seattle.

Fans have eagerly awaited Guerrero’s return to the Derby since his remarkable rookie performance in 2019, where he set the all-time record with 91 home runs.

Although he ultimately lost to Pete Alonso in the finals with a close score of 23-22, Guerrero’s incredible second-round display against Joc Pederson, where he hit 40 home runs, left a lasting impression to say the least.

In the first round that year, he secured a victory against his now-teammate Matt Chapman, who was representing the A’s at the time.

It seems Guerrero isn’t the only member of the Guerrero family eager to see him back in the Derby. Sitting in the Blue Jays’ dugout wearing a shirt reading “Mr. 91,” Guerrero revealed the reason for his return.

He expressed, “Definitely my family. My family has been asking me for the last three years to participate, and they asked me again this year, so I said, ‘OK, if you guys want me to go, I’ll be there this year.'”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR (@vladdyjr27)

Guerrero made his All-Star debut in 2019 at the age of 20, just 61 games into his Major League Baseball career. At the time, he had already hit eight home runs and was recognized as baseball’s top prospect.

His emergence coincided with a turning point for the Blue Jays, as they transitioned from their older core to the promising young talents of Guerrero and Bo Bichette.

Since 2019, Guerrero has watched as Alonso secured another Derby victory and Juan Soto claimed the crown in 2022. This year’s competition will feature Seattle’s hometown star, Julio Rodríguez, who will enjoy the support of a boisterous crowd as well as Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Although Guerrero’s power numbers haven’t been as prominent in games this season, with only 11 home runs over 78 games and a .796 OPS, the timing of the Derby could be opportune.

Guerrero intends to approach the Derby with a carefree mindset, stating, “No plan at all. I’m just going to go hit homers. I’ll just enjoy it and hit homers.”

In the past, Guerrero has opted out of the Derby to preserve his health and swing during demanding seasons. Last year, he wisely chose not to aggravate a nagging left wrist injury by subjecting it to the stress of 100 maximum-effort swings.

However, this year presents an ideal opportunity for Guerrero and the Blue Jays to ignite a strong second half.

Guerrero’s immense power remains evident, ranking second in MLB for hard-hit balls (95-plus mph) behind Ronald Acuna Jr.

Joining Guerrero for this year’s Derby is his former manager, John Schneider, who served as his pitcher during the 2019 event.

Schneider had recently been promoted to an MLB coaching role after years of climbing the Minor League ranks. Notably, he managed Guerrero during the 2018 season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where Guerrero displayed remarkable prowess with a .402 batting average and a 1.120 OPS over 61 games.

Now reunited as Guerrero’s big league manager, Schneider expressed confidence in his player’s abilities, stating, “He put on a good show last time. I think he’s a few years wiser and more mature with making the decision to do it or not do it. Hopefully, he can pick up where he left off in Cleveland.”

 

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