‘One more closer to my dad’: Vladdy earns 4th All-Star nod

July 7th, 2024

TORONTO -- is going back to the All-Star Game.

Guerrero was named the AL starter at first base Wednesday, edging out Ryan Mountcastle, and will be the Blue Jays’ lone representative at the Midsummer Classic after the full rosters were announced Sunday. All week leading up to Guerrero’s selection as a starter, his teammates have been wearing “Giddy Up Guerrero” shirts ahead of the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

This will be Guerrero’s fourth All-Star appearance, which is a fantastic accomplishment for any 25-year-old, but he’s still looking down the road at a bigger number.

“This is one more accomplishment, and of course it’s one more closer to my dad,” Guerrero said through a club interpreter. “He has nine All-Star Games, so I’m getting close to him. That’s my goal.”

Vlad Sr.’s nine appearances are impressive, but it took him until his age-27 season with the Expos to make his fourth trip, so young Vladdy already has the edge there.

“Not just All-Star Games, but everything,” Guerrero said. “Everything. I want to be like him in everything.”

The two are also tied, 1-1, when it comes to Home Run Derby crowns. After the elder Guerrero won in 2007 in San Francisco, Guerrero Jr. finally took home the crown last year in Seattle. Let’s give young Vladdy the tiebreaker here because of his performance in 2019, when he lit All-Star Weekend on fire with a record 91 home runs in the Derby before ultimately losing in the finals to Pete Alonso.

So, is the king coming back to defend his title?

“No, no, no,” Guerrero said, breaking into a wide smile.

Guerrero explained that he’s feeling good right now and wants to continue to focus on helping the Blue Jays in 2024 as they try to get back in the postseason picture. He acknowledged that the Derby, fun as it may be, can be tiring for a player, so he wants to focus more on the game during this All-Star trip and leave the Derby to a new champion … for now.

One month ago, Guerrero’s All-Star case wasn’t all that strong. Even as recently as June 19, Guerrero had a .760 OPS with just seven home runs on the season. Those just aren’t the numbers people expect from Guerrero, even coming off a couple of seasons that didn’t look like his dominant ‘21 campaign.

Lately, Guerrero has come to life. He launched six home runs in eight games and every ball he’s put his bat on has been a rocket. This is the best Guerrero’s swing has looked since 2021.

“It’s not just about this year and these last couple of weeks, I think it’s about his whole body of work since he’s been here,” manager John Schneider said. “It’s about the way he plays, his personality and how he’s viewed around the league. That makes him a year-in, year-out candidate to be an All-Star.”

The Blue Jays are betting on this to continue. Whether it’s a miracle run this season, a reload in 2025 or an extension that keeps Guerrero in Toronto well beyond that, this team needs Guerrero to be its star. He’s still so capable of grabbing a game with both hands and dominating it on his best days.

“He’s at the point where he’s cemented himself as one of the premier players in the league,” Schneider said.

This will be a busy week in baseball, with the MLB Draft beginning July 14 and running through July 16. The T-Mobile Home Run Derby goes on the night of July 15 before the big game on July 16. Guerrero and the Blue Jays come out of the All-Star break on July 19 at home against the Tigers.