As we anticipate the Major League arrival of 19-year-old phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr., let's not allow that anticipation to mask what could be a historic Minor League campaign. Guerrero is chasing a feat that hasn't been accomplished at any level of professional baseball in 57 years: a .400 batting average
As we anticipate the Major League arrival of 19-year-old phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr., let's not allow that anticipation to mask what could be a historic Minor League campaign. Guerrero is chasing a feat that hasn't been accomplished at any level of professional baseball in 57 years: a .400 batting average over a full season.
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Guerrero, baseball's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has played at four levels within the Blue Jays' system in 2018, and he is hitting .382 with 20 home runs in 94 games. In 61 games for Double-A New Hampshire, he slashed .402/.449/.671 with 14 homers, and since being promoted to Triple-A Buffalo, he's batting .340 with six homers.
Guerrero's high-water mark for the season came on May 25, when he was batting .438. He was hitting .410 on June 6 before missing about five weeks due to a left knee injury.
The last player to hit .400 or better over a full season, excluding short-season leagues, was the Cubs' Aaron Pointer in 1961. The brother of members of the Pointer Sisters singing group hit .401 in 97 games between Triple-A (four) and Class D (93).
Erubiel Durazo hit .404 between Double-A El Paso and Triple-A Tucson in 1999, but he was promoted to the D-backs in July and didn't hit .400 over the course of the full season, including his big league stats. And Gary Redus hit an MiLB record .462 during his professional debut for Billings in 1978, but that was in the short-season Pioneer League.
Here's a look at Guerrero's run at a .400 season since he was promoted to Triple-A Buffalo on July 31, at which point he was hitting .401:
Sunday, Sept. 2: 1-for-4 at Syracuse
Guerrero's quest for .400 will fall short, but his lone hit against Syracuse was a solo homer, giving the 20-year-old his first 20-homer season as a professional. Guerrero reached 20 homers in 94 games and it likely will just be the first of many 20-homer campaigns in his career.
Saturday, Sept. 1: 3-for-5 at Syracuse
Guerrero hit 3 singles in his first multihit effort since Aug. 24 to add 3 points to his average, but with only two games remaining, Vlad would need a couple of remarkable performances to reach .400.
Friday, Aug. 31: 1-for-4 at Syracuse
Guerrero doubled in his first at-bat, but didn't get a hit for the rest of the night and his average dropped a point.
Wednesday, Aug. 29: 0-for-4 at Rochester
Guerrero falls even farther from his .400 season with his eighth hitless game this season. He made contact in three of his four at-bats and struck out swinging in the first.
Tuesday, Aug. 27: 1-for-3 vs. Pawtucket
Guerrero singled once, but that was it. He finished the game 1-for-3 and his averaged remained at .387. While .387 is still impressive, a .400 season is starting to look out of reach.
Monday, Aug. 27: 1-for-4 vs. Pawtucket
Guerrero bounced back from Sunday's 0-for-4 effort with a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the game. However, that was all he was able to manage. The 19-year-old was retired in each of his final three at-bats and, as a result, saw his average drop two points.
Sunday, Aug. 26: 0-for-4 vs. Pawtucket
Guerrero reached twice thanks to a fielding error in the first and a walk in the third, but he went hitless for the second time this week, finishing 0-for-4. With less than 10 games remaining, Vlad is going to have to pick up the pace quickly in order to reach .400.
Saturday, Aug. 25: 1-for-3 vs. Pawtucket
Guerrero got off to a fast start, coming through with an RBI single in his first at-bat, but wasn't able to do much after that and finished 1-for-3, keeping his average at .394. A .400 average is still possible, but time is running out and Guerrero will need to string together some multihit games.
Friday, Aug. 24: 3-for-4 vs. Pawtucket
The 19-year-old posted his second straight multihit effort for the Bisons. Guerrero Jr. started off the game with hits in each of his first two at-bats and finished 3-for-4 as he bumped his average up to .394. With 11 games left, time is running out, but a .400 season is still certainly in reach.
Thursday, Aug. 23: 2-for-5 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
After starting the game 0-for-3, Guerrero was on the verge of going hitless in consecutive games for the first time in over a year before he singled in the eight and ninth innings to keep his average at .390 with 12 games to go.
Wednesday, Aug. 22: 0-for-3 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
A sixth hitless game in Guerrero's first 19 with Buffalo dropped his average back down to .390. He was held without a hit only seven times in 65 games prior to his promotion.
Tuesday, Aug. 21: 3-for-4 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Guerrero got back on track with his first multihit performance since Aug. 16 and his first three-hit game since Aug. 8. The 19-year-old got off to a fast start for Buffalo, going 2-for-2 to start the game, then came up clutch with a game-tying double in the eighth. The game was suspended in the bottom of the ninth because of rain and will be completed on Wednesday.
Sunday, Aug. 19: 1-for-4 at Gwinnett
Only an infield single that was misplayed by the shortstop kept Guerrero from registering his sixth hitless game in 17 since his promotion to Buffalo, as his average dipped below .390 for the first time since April.
Saturday, Aug. 18: Did not play at Gwinnett
Guerrero had a scheduled day off, the first game he hasn't started for Buffalo since the second game of a doubleheader on July 1.
Friday, Aug. 17: 1-for-4 at Gwinnett
Guerrero salvaged the night with a base hit in the top of the ninth. After going 0-for-3 to begin the game, Guerrero did at least get a hit, but his average dipped two points further from .400.
Thursday, Aug. 16: 2-for-3 at Gwinnett
Guerrero got a base hit in his first at-bat to end a 1-for-15 skid and went 2-for-3 for his first multihit effort since Aug. 11. He also avoided going consecutive games without a hit -- something he hasn't done in over two years.
Wednesday, Aug. 15: 0-for-5 at Charlotte
Hitless for the fifth time in 14 games with Buffalo, Guerrero saw his average drop to its lowest point since it was .388 on April 30. His 0-for-5 performance was his first in over two years.
Tuesday, Aug. 14: 1-for-5 at Charlotte
Guerrero singled in the third, but that was all he managed on a day that seemed to be friendly to hitters as Buffalo finished with 14 runs on 18 hits.
Sunday, Aug. 12: 0-for-4 vs. Toledo
Guerrero not only saw his streak of four straight games with a homer come to an end, but he went hitless for the fourth time in 12 games with Buffalo after going hitless four times in his previous 52 games.
Saturday, Aug. 11: 2-for-4 vs. Toledo
Guerrero homered in his fourth straight game on, of all nights, Superhero Night at Coca-Cola Field. This one was an opposite-field solo shot in the fourth inning.
Friday, Aug. 10: 1-for-4 vs. Toledo
Though he was only 1-for-4 on this night, Guerrero made his one hit count, launching a solo homer in the first inning during Buffalo's 5-4 victory over Toledo.
Thursday, Aug. 9: 2-for-4 vs. Gwinnett
Guerrero belted a solo homer in the sixth inning, and then singled in the eighth during Buffalo's 9-5 loss to Gwinnett.
Wednesday, Aug. 8: 3-for-4 vs. Gwinnett
With a first-inning double, a third-inning single and a two-run homer in the fifth, Guerrero finished a triple shy of the cycle in Buffalo's 6-1 win over Gwinnett.
Tuesday, Aug. 7: 3-for-4 vs. Gwinnett
Guerrero singled three times in Buffalo's 2-0 loss, beginning a five-game stretch over which he would go 11-for-20 and raise his season batting average from .395 to .406.
Sunday, Aug. 5: 0-for-3 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Guerrero went 0-for-3 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a 6-5 victory, his third hitless game out of the first six games in his Triple-A career.
Saturday, Aug. 4: 2-for-2 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
With a walk in the first inning, an RBI single in the third, a walk in the fourth, and another single in the seventh, Guerrero tacked on four points to his average to get it back to the cusp of .400.
Saturday, Aug. 4: 0-for-2 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Though he walked in the sixth inning of a 3-1 loss during the first game of a doubleheader, Guerrero was hitless for the second time in his first four Triple-A games.
Thursday, Aug. 2: 1-for-3 vs. Lehigh Valley
Guerrero went 1-for-3 with a first-inning double and a fifth-inning walk in Buffalo's 6-4 loss to Lehigh Valley.
Wednesday, Aug. 1: 1-for-3 vs. Lehigh Valley
Following a pair of strikeouts, Guerrero picked up his first Triple-A hit with a line-drive single to left field in a 1-0 loss.
Tuesday, July 31: 0-for-1 vs. Lehigh Valley
Guerrero walked in his first three Triple-A plate appearances, then hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to drive in his first Triple-A run before grounding out in the eighth inning of the 11-8 loss. His average dropped below .400 for the first time since May 13.