Is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. a Future Angel?


Vladimir Guerrero Jr., son of former Angel great Vladimir Guerrero, is 15-years-old and already drawing significant interest from multiple Major League clubs. Vladdy Jr. is not eligible to sign with a team until July 2, 2015, but the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Angels have all been linked to the young man. The 6’2, 220 lb., outfielder has developed a reputation among scouts as one of the most gifted power hitting prospects in many years.

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Vladimir Guerrero starred in Anaheim for six seasons, winning one MVP award, and representing the Halos at four mid summer classics. Guerrero was a supremely gifted athlete and one of the most exciting players of his generation. Nobody in baseball could compete with Guerrero’s bat speed, and the pure power he generated was incredible. Vladdy could throw darts from the right field corner to home plate with ease. Vlad hit 39 home runs and stole 40 bases in 2002 with the Montreal Expos. He was truly a complete player.

When you watch the younger Vlad swing the bat, it is obvious he inherited more than just a name. He bats from the right side of the plate, and just like his namesake, his violent swing is brimming with power. His mannerisms at the plate are also eerily similar to the elder Guerrero. Vladdy Jr. chooses not to wear batting gloves, and just like his dad, he does not appear to need them. I could watch Vladdy Jr. hit all day. When he connects with the baseball, his bat makes that rare crack that you only hear with the best hitters in the game. His raw power is jaw dropping, and is sure to net him a huge signing bonus next summer.

When Guerrero Sr. broke onto the scene with Montreal in 1996, he was slender 6’3. Vladdy was wiry strong, and his tape measure home runs caught many off guard at the beginning of his illustrious career. Guerrero developed more muscle mass as he aged. By the time he arrived in Anaheim in 2004; Guerrero was a solid 235 lb.

At just 15 years of age, Guerrero Jr. is already 220 lb. Many scouts suggest the Junior Vladdy still has baby weight to shed, but this is perfectly normal for his age. While his body type suggests he may not posses the same speed as his father, his strong lower body could easily translate to 40 home runs in a season. Vlad Jr. still has more growing to do, and will likely slim down as he ages. Regardless of his physique, Guerrero’s current frame will not deter clubs from throwing heaps of cash at him this July.

The Guerrero’s like to keep it in the family. Vladdy Jr.’s uncle, and former big leaguer, Wilton Guerrero, is currently training the phenom. Wilton has been in charge of the young man’s development since he was 5-years-old, and knows him better than anyone. Wilton had this to say about his nephew at Guerrero Jr.’s showcase in September.

"“To me, God has given him double the talent that his father had. He also grew up watching the game and he’s mature for his age. I really hope he can develop and do what he has to do. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the big leagues at 19 or 20. He’s going to be that good.”"

Wilton Guerrero knows what he is talking about. Wilton was responsible for training Vladimir’s cousin, Gabby Guerrero, before he signed with the Seattle Mariners organization in 2011. Gabby has also drawn comparisons to his uncle Vlad, and appeared in the Futures Game last season in Minnesota.

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Guerrero Jr.’s raw talent is undeniable, however there are a few concerns for interested teams. We really only have video of him taking batting practice, which as we learned with Wily Mo Pena, is not always the best way to evaluate talent. It would be nice to see film of Guerrero facing live pitching. Guerrero Sr. was well known for his lack of plate discipline. Does Vladdy Jr. also have a similar approach at the dish? Also, Vlad Sr. was a superb fielder, but we really do not know what skills his offspring has with the leather.

15-year-olds with Vlad Jr.’s power do not come around very often, and usually command big dollars. The Halos would be foolish not to pursue a player with Guerrero’s massive upside. Hopefully, Vladdy Sr.’s familiarity with the Angels organization will give them an advantage when it comes time to put pen to paper. Who knows what the young Guerrero will develop into, but the potential is there for superstardom. The Angels cannot afford to pass that up.

Next: Stephen Drew: A Good Fit for the Angels?