Vladimir Guerrero Jr., MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect, entered the Arizona Fall League as the player to watch.One week in and he has lived up to the hype. It was announced Tuesday that Guerrero won the league's Player of the Week after batting .643 and recording six RBIs in
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect, entered the Arizona Fall League as the player to watch.
One week in and he has lived up to the hype. It was announced Tuesday that Guerrero won the league's Player of the Week after batting .643 and recording six RBIs in his first three games with the Surprise Saguaros. Baseball's top-ranked pitching prospect, Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley, was named the league's Pitcher of the Week.
Through the first week, the 19-year-old Blue Jays third-base prospect led the Fall League in batting average, hits, doubles and on-base percentage. He was second in slugging (.929) and OPS and had three hits in each of the three games he played, in which the Saguaros went 2-1.
• Whitley named AFL Pitcher of the Week
Guerrero is coming off an outstanding season, in which he batted .381 with 20 home runs and 78 RBIs while playing across four different levels, primarily Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. In his 61 games in New Hampshire, Guerrero batted .402.
Guerrero's prowess in the box makes him a can't-miss prospect. He was the first player to ever receive an 80 hit tool grade by MLB Pipeline, which he received prior to his breakout 2018 season, in which he won MLB Pipeline's Hitter of the Year award.
Guerrero's hitting is well documented, but his ability at third base is still somewhat unknown. He has improved his fielding percentage each of the three years he's been in the Minors, with a career-best percentage of .945 in 2018.
While he's on the cusp of breaking through to the big leagues, it's not something he thinks about.
"I can just control what I can control," said Guerrero through a translator. "I am going to come next year and have fun with the guys and let the team decide when and how I am going to get to Toronto."
Guerrero has enjoyed his time in the desert so far and looks forward to continuing to build relationships with the players.
"I'm just trying to come here, get to know the guys. Have a good time with them. There's some people who I've never played with or faced in the league," Guerrero said.
Guerrero started his second week of play Monday night by going 1-for-4 with a walk, as Surprise beat Scottsdale, 2-1. He has struck out just once in 20 plate appearances in the Fall League.
Drake Dunaway is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.