Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads all players in the latest round of All-Star Game voting, suggesting that he'll be part of this year's MLB All-Star Game when it's played on July 13 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Alas, Guerrero will not be partaking in the Home Run Derby event.
Guerrero, who said last week that he hadn't made a final decision, told reporters (including Hazel Mae) on Monday that he was opting out of the Derby so that he could "refresh mentally" for the second half.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has decided not participate at this year's Home Run Derby.— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) June 21, 2021
He's looking forward to being at the All Star Game in Colorado but told me he'd like to use the time to regroup, refresh mentally for the second half of the season. #BlueJays
This would've, of course, been the second time in his career that he participated in the Home Run Derby. In 2019, Guerrero set records for the most home runs in a single round (29) and in a single Derby (91), though he fell in the finals to New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso.
Guerrero, 22 years old, is in the midst of a breakout season. He entered Tuesday hitting .337/.440/.671 (202 OPS+) with 23 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Here's how Guerrero ranks in the majors in various offensive categories of note:
- Batting average: 4th
- On-base percentage: 1st
- Slugging percentage: 2nd
- OPS: 1st
- Home runs: T-1st
- Runs batted in: 1st
- Wins Above Replacement (position players): 1st
It's not a stretch to describe Guerrero as the most productive offensive player in baseball this season. Nor is it ridiculous to label him as the frontrunner for the American League Most Valuable Player Award -- not with Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout likely to miss another month as he continues to rehab from a calf injury.
Provided Guerrero can stay healthy himself, this seems like his summer to dominate. He seems committed to as much, even if it means sitting out the Home Run Derby.