Animal. The beast. Leon (lion).
With the Toronto Blue Jays slugger making his season debut for Lyons del Escogido, those words came to the fore before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. returned to the Dominican Winter League on Tuesday. There may not be fans, but at least there is a fan favorite as well.
When Guerrero Jr. last played for Escogido, he was 18 with just two years of minor-league experience. He struggled with .553 OPS in 26 games, 25 of which started at third base.
Now, he has two years in his MLB career – still on the plate, and finding his way on the field. A reunion with Eskogido would give him the opportunity to work towards regaining a third base with Blue Jays (which he Intend to do) While taking some extra hacks in the process.
Guerrero Jr. must wait to predict the game on the field, as he stepped in as the designated hitter. But Escogido a Tweet He “basically works at the third base while with the team.”
At the plate, Guerrero Jr. went 0-for-4 with an RBI and strikeout. Not exactly a glittering debut, but hey, it’s a game.
Interested in intensifying the microscope a bit, here’s how each of his at-bots went down.
First Bat: Strike
Strikeouts do not always look good on the box score, but sometimes the process is more beautiful than the result. In this case, it’s a good at-bat if you really want to.
Consider the situation: this is Guerrero Jr.’s first live, competitive at-bat since September and he faces a left (he has .718 OPS against lefties, .801 OPS against virtues).
He took the ball high and out to start, then the third ball was another ball that was slightly lower than the zone before fouling the ground ball towards the excavation. He took another ball high and slightly outside before fouling the pitch to the backstop. Complete calculation.
After another ball was fouled back and forth in the game, Guerrero Jr. bowled through the off-speed pitch, which could have been ball four.
However, it was a seven-pitch at-bat that included some good takes and three foul balls. Not the worst strike anyone has ever had.
Second At-Bat: Groundout
It was small and … not sweet.
Guerrero Jr. took one of the strikes, which appeared to be a slider. He then cut to the ung putu shortstop at the second pitch, the curve ball.
The ball took high hop, prompting the fielder to throw up the line in a rush and erroneously, but Guerrero was not in the junior tag.
Third At-Bat: Groundout
In the fifth inning, Guerrero Jr. stepped onto the plate in a high-leverage situation: runners in the corners, two out, 3-0.
He fouled the first pitch to the backstop and then counted the fastball below the zone. The third pitch zone was decided at the bottom, but Guerrero Jr. hit the dirt instead and got out lightly at first.
Fourth At-Bat: Groundout, RBI
Guerrero Jr. came into the corners with runners in seventh place and again, he crushed baseball straight into the field.
This is the breaking pitch that lands in the middle of the zone. The silver lining was that Guerrero Jr. huddled first to avoid a double, which allowed the runner to score from the third.
With a hat-trick of ground outs tonight, Guerrero Jr. demonstrated a microscope of the shining launch-angle suffering with Toronto from his 2020 season. His average launch angle this year is just 4.6 degrees (MLB average 11.9), which is his 93 percent hard-hit percentage and exit speed Produced much more ground balls than line drives.
For context, he batted.400 off 85 balls last season, in which his launch angle was five degrees or more. Clearly, this is something that needs to be worked out this winter.
And he will have more time to do so. A (hopefully) 2021 season is still many months away.