The Toronto Blue Jays continue to be the story in MLB right now. They blistered the Rays last night as Tampa was on another bullpen game to the tune of 8-1. It was the Jays’ 12th win in 13 games, keeping them in the wild-card spots. And it was highlighted by Vlad Guerrero Jr. obliterating a ball for his 45th homer:
That ball had an exit velocity of 113 MPH, which doesn’t really measure the venom this one got over the fence with. This was an invading force of a homer. An angry meteor. It seemingly got out in less than a second, with a launch angle of just 15 degrees, which would be only the third homer with a launch angle that low or lower. But let’s not ruin this kind of thing with numbers and Statcast, though they help fill in the background.
The 45 homers means Vlad has hit the fourth-most homers of any player 22 years of age or under in the history of the game, and he’s got three weeks to top the 47 that Eddie Mathews hit in 1953. The other two names Vlad will likely pass are Joe DiMaggio and Johnny Bench, which tells you something about the company he’s keeping and where his career might project. In case you’re curious, the other names below him on the top 10 of home run seasons by players 22 or younger are Juan Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Mel Ott, Alex Rodriguez, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Eddie Mathews again. This doesn’t mean that Guerrero Jr. will automatically be a Hall of Famer, he’s just on the right track so far.
Also that’s 52 runs in the last four games for the Jays, though three of those games being played against the Orioles is something of a cheat code. The past month, as the Jays have taken off, Vlad is hitting .345 while striking out just 11 percent of the time. If Shohei Ohtani didn’t exist, this would be Vlad’s MVP push. Sadly, his rookie year came in last year’s Arena League setting, so he won’t be taking home the Rookie Of The Year award which he would be walking away with this year.
But at the base level, it’s just a fuck-ton of fun to watch Vlad pulverize baseballs.
Here’s an athletes-can-occasionally-be-just-like us moment to end on:
The Cardinal Way, baby.