VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR.
MLB — TORONTO BLUE JAYS
2019 MLB Home Run Derby — Runner-Up
2018 MLB Pipeline Top Prospect
2017-18 ESPN’s MLB Prospect of the Year
2017 Futures Game All-Star
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Canada's baseball history has had a few defining moments.
The Blue Jays have given the country dramatic back-to-back World Series wins and recent playoff runs, but the moment when a four-year old Vlad Guerrero Jr. joined his father at second base and tipped his cap to the Montreal fans as a way of saying au revoir — until we meet again — was among the most memorable for Les Expos.
The Montreal-born Guerrero Jr. made his homecoming in a 2018 pre-season series between the Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals and started making some new memories.
Donning his father's number 27 jersey, with the game locked in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the ninth, Guerrero Jr. crushed the second pitch deep to left-centre for a walk-off home run.
It was a scene that played out regularly in Montreal for eight years: The mention of Vladimir Guerrero Sr.'s name over the Olympic Stadium sound system, followed by loud cheers and a standing ovation.
It was a transcendent moment for Guerrero Jr. who was surprised by the club with the number 27.
"It motivates me to have my dad's number on my back and to wear his number."
When asked about the crowd's reaction to the number, Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons understood the importance to the city.
"I know he feels pretty good about that. His dad was a legend here," said Gibbons.
Over the past 15 years, Guerrero Jr. has emerged as a prodigious offensive talent who's seemingly destined for baseball greatness.
He’s been able to manage the pressure that comes with following your father into the major leagues.
"I don't feel pressure. I think it gives me more energy and excitement," Guerrero Jr. noted. "My dad's a Hall of Famer and I want to be like him. I'm just trying to give my 100 percent and have fun when I go out there, like he did."
At age 19, Guerrero Jr. led the Minor Leagues in hitting (.381), slugging (.636) and OPS (1.120) while reaching Triple-A and establishing his reputation as the top prospect in baseball.
He’ll look to take the lessons of his father to the ballpark everyday and give Canadian baseball fans even more defining moments.
“What I learned most from my dad is being humble and having fun every time I go out there on the field,” said Guerrero Jr.
“He’s always told me that and that’s what I do, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
On April 26, 2019, Guerrero Jr. made his major league debut with the Blue Jays but his breakout moment would have to wait until the MLB All-Star Weekend in Cleveland.
After accepting an invitation to compete in the Home Run Derby, Guerrero Jr. set a new record crushing 91 total homers including a 488-foot blast that announced his presence to the rest of the baseball world.
The drama intensified in a challenging semi-final against Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.
Pederson matched Guerrero’s 29 homers swing for swing. Then, in a minute-long tiebreaker, both sluggers hit eight. In a three-swing double-tiebreaker, they each hit two. In the triple-tiebreaker, Guerrero finally prevailed, going long on his first two swings.
And while Pete Alonso ultimately claimed the derby title, Vlad Guerrero Jr. stole the show.