Vladimir Guerrero received baseball’s highest honor on Wednesday after being announced as one of four new inductees into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
If we’re to believe Jim Callis and his colleagues at MLB Pipeline, it might not be far fetched to think his son, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., will follow his path directly to Cooperstown.
According to MLB Pipeline’s preseason rankings, the soon-to-be 19-year-old is the top rated third base prospect in baseball. Once those ratings are fully released, Guerrero Jr. will also likely be the Toronto Blue Jays top rated prospect, and potentially a top ten prospect overall.
Any of those acknowledgements alone would indicate Guerrero Jr. has made a great impression on scouts. But there’s one grade in particular that suggests he could be the best hitter to come along since his father was still wearing a Montreal Expos uniform.
An 80 hit tool!? Yes, that's an 80 hit tool — the first we've ever given out. #BlueJays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the highest offensive ceiling of any @MLB prospect & is No. 1 on our Top 10 3B Prospects list: https://t.co/l1C5KRCAgL pic.twitter.com/gkU1fz4tb5
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 23, 2018
Guerrero Jr. was given an 80-grade by MLB Pipeline’s hit tool, which is used to compare players to other current and former prospects, while also attempting to measure their potential. It’s not an exact science, but this grade is notable because it’s the highest MLB Pipeline has ever given to a prospect.
Not Mike Trout. Not Bryce Harper. Not even Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge. No other hitter has received an 80 in the hit tool category.
Guerrero Jr., has drawn comparisons to his father, which is only natural. But he’s also been compared favorably to Miguel Cabrera, who himself will be a Hall of Famer. Some would even argue Cabrera is the best right-handed hitter the game has ever seen.
Praise and high grades aside though, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm warns that Guerrero Jr. is by no means a finished product, nor is he ticketed for guaranteed success. He’s still learning how to apply his tools on a day-to-day basis, which is where the focus will be entering the 2018 season.
Last season Guerrero Jr. slashed .323/.425/.485 with 43 extra-base hits in 119 games between Low A and High A ball. Now though, he’ll have to show the ability to adjust as he continues working his way up. Beyond that, his defensive work at the hot corner will have to improve before the Blue Jays put him in their plans.
Still, it’s very clear that the sky will be the limit for the teenage Guerrero if he can put it all together. That gives us the same feeling of anticipation and excitement that existed when his now Hall of Fame father was coming through the ranks 25 years ago.
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