In 2007 Vladimir Guerrero Sr. won the HR Derby in Houston. He hit a monster 503-foot moon blast with a young 8-year-old baby faced Vladdy Jr cheering dad on from the sidelines. On Monday night, 12 years later, an all grown up 20-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr. showed up in Cleveland to take part in the 2019 home run derby; an event where many fans questioned his inclusion. He silenced the critics real fast.
In the first round he crushed baseballs at an alarming rate. However, as a Blue Jays fan you probably are not shocked. He put up 29 HRs and set a record for most in the 1st round. Even fans that have watched him would be shocked by that though. He hit a total of 91 HRs…91!! Which was also a derby record. Fun fact heard on the broadcast was that Vladdy had more HRs in the event than 4 MLB teams have all season.
Sadly, the excitement was cut short as Vladdy lost in the final round 23-22 to Pete Alonzo of the Mets. However, at the end of the event Alonzo only hit a total of 57 HRs…Vladdy hit 34 more. It is insane how the event works. By the time the final round came Vladdy was clearly gassed, with all those extra swings and a triple swing off against Pederson just to make the finals.
I do believe the format of the event needs to be changed as I believe the HR derby should celebrate the player that can hit the most HRs overall, not just in a single round. I think it is ridiculous that someone with a total that high, that broke almost every record in the derby, doesn’t win; but that is just my opinion.
As for the fans that believed he should not have been in the event; I hope that performance wakes you up to one of the best talents in the game. Yes, stats are a big thing in baseball, but we should be celebrating pure, raw talent in this league and not just what we see on the scoreboard or in the box score. This puts Vladdy Jr, as well as the Blue Jays, back into the spotlight as fans of teams that probably never watch the Jays now realize the pure talent he has. This was a huge stage for a 20-year-old and Guerrero Jr. had veterans of the sport in shock and awe in what he could do to a baseball (and probably struck some fear into them as well, especially the pitchers).
He can swing like his daddy but he puts on his own show. He may not have won this one, but expect that this will be the first of many HR derbys for Guerrero Jr and one day we will see him take the crown.