Guerrero's Debut Only Slightly Better Than His Dad's
Toronto's Phenom Arrives At Last To The Big Stage
Looking Back At The First Of 2,590
Baseball's most highly touted prospect made his debut Friday night, creating buzz in Toronto's Rogers Centre that spread throughout the entire continent. Amidst all of the fanfare Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. ended up getting one hit in four trips to the plate, but his Blue Jays did eke out a walk off 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.
Playing third base, Guerrero got only a couple chances to demonstrate his fielding ability. It did not matter, for the sold out Rogers Centre crowd was there to see him swing the bat, not flash the glove.
Even though he is a completely different hitter than his Hall of Fame father, Guerrero, Jr. is hoping to someday follow him to Cooperstown. Based on the performance of their debuts, it looks as if the son is so far slightly ahead of the father.
Way back in the last century, Guerrero, Sr. appeared in the Major Leagues for the first time. He, too, had been hailed as a top prospect, so he did cause a certain fervor when he made the lineup for the Montreal Expos on July 19,1996.
The game was in Atlanta, so the elder Guerrero lacked the welcome the Toronto fans gave the son on Friday night. Also contributing to the lack of hype was the fact that Vladimir the elder came up in the days before social media, meaning only subscribers to baseball publications and other avid sporte fans knew much about him.
They knew quite a bit, though, about the pitcher starting for Guerrero's team, who ended up in the Hall of Fame himself. Pedro Martinez allowed one run on five hits in seven innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter, who ended up breaking the one to one deadlock. One of those hits came off the bat of a player who would join both Martinez and Guerrero for enshrinement in Cooperstown, a third baseman named Chipper Jones.
Guerrero did, however, get his first hit more quickly than Junior, stroking a Steve Avery pitch right up the middle in just his second at bat. His son did not get an average until his fourth and final at bat, but he trumped his dad by stroking a double rather than a single.
After that single in the fourth, Senior went hitless for the rest of the game. He ended up going one for five, for a batting average of an even .200. Vladimir, Jr. had a final line of .250, having gone one for four.
In spite of that fifty point advantage after one game, Vladimir Geurrero has a long way to go if he wants to try to match the career of his dad. Not only will he need to add sixty seven points to his career batting average, but he will also need to get 2,589 more hits.