Fantasy Baseball: Immediate greatness from Vladimir Guerrero Jr.? Expect it
The wait is over. Vladimir Guerrero is coming and should prove well worth the investment for Fantasy players, according to Scott White.
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It doesn't always work out for top prospect call-ups: Yoan Moncada needed a couple years to get in the swing of things; Byron Buxton is still mostly a vessel of unrealized potential; Even Eloy Jimenez, as little as we've seen of him, has offered some cause for concern.
But Vladimir Guerrero isn't just a top prospect. He's the tippy top of the top.
I know, I know — those others were huge. Buxton was No. 1 overall a couple times, and it doesn't get any higher than that. Some of the individual scores for Guerrero, though — the ones most pertinent to Fantasy Baseball, I should point out — are unlike I've seen for any prospect. His hit and power tools grades are pretty close to maxed out, with some variation depending where you look. It's rare to find a prospect who scores so high in either category. Both is just bonkers.
And of course, the production backs it up. He was basically Ted Williams in the minors last year, batting .381 with 20 homers, a 1.073 OPS and 37 walks to just 38 strikeouts in 357 at-bats.
This year, he has hit .333 with three home runs at Triple-A while predictably striking out just four times in 45 at-bats. That's the most obvious thing separating him from past top-shelf hitting prospects. It's not just that he crushes the ball. It's that he doesn't miss.
And I know what I'm saying isn't any great secret. There's a reason he was drafted in the sixth round on average in CBS Sports leagues even though we knew he wouldn't have a job right away and weren't exactly sure when he would. Even the oblique injury he suffered early in spring training, delaying his start to the minor-league season, couldn't dampen enthusiasm.
I wasn't exactly discouraging it either. No, it doesn't always work out for top prospect call-ups, but at a time in baseball history when they're realizing the full extent of their potential sooner than ever, I don't see how Guerrero's profile is the one that falters. Look at what Pete Alonso is doing. Look at what Fernando Tatis is doing. Look at what last year's top prospect, Ronald Acuna, has done. And again, none of them brought this sort of hitting profile to the majors. I'm struggling to remember a prospect who did, Mike Trout included.
So if you made the investment on that fateful March afternoon, this is your opportunity to enjoy it. What, you thought I was going to tell you to shop him, like you're going to sell high or something? Of course you're not. Someone offers up Nolan Arenado for him? OK, fine. But is anybody doing that? Of course they're not.
Jose Ramirez, though ... now, there's an opportunity. I won't try any harder to convince you he's OK , but the bottom line is I think he is. It might be the one offer I'd float out there with some hope of pulling it off (and only in a redraft league, of course).
But Guerrero is absolutely a hitter with first-round potential, and the profile seems safe enough that I can't in good conscious advise trading him for a hitter who doesn't have first- or second-round potential, especially since your investment is already so high. No, the most likely way to cash in on that investment is to just watch it all unfold.
It should be something to behold.
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