You may recall that Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 48 home runs last season, tying him with Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez for the most in Major League Baseball. We're here to share the news that Guerrero launched his first home run of the new campaign on Sunday afternoon, and that it established new personal bests for Guerrero in both distance and exit velocity.
Guerrero's home run came in the bottom of the third inning and with the Blue Jays already up by a 5-1 margin against the Texas Rangers. Right-hander Spencer Howard misplaced a 1-1 cutter, leaving it up and over the plate. Predictably, based on the headline and Guerrero's stature as a bonafide big-league slugger, that didn't go well.
Take a look:
According to Statcast's calculations, Guerrero's ball left the bat traveling at roughly 118 mph. Moreover, it carried some 467 feet. Previously, the longest home run of Guerrero's big-league career had occurred last May, when he sent a Brandon Kintzler pitch 465 feet. This is the third time Guerrero has hit a ball at least 460 feet, with the other happening versus Ryan Yarbrought, some eight days after the Kintzler home run.
Conveniently, Guerrero's previous high watermark in terms of exit velocity was established by that home run against Yarbrough, which popped a 117.4-mph figure. Sunday's home run against Howard was recorded at 117.9 mph. (The hardest-hit ball overall in Guerrero's career remains a single against Ivan Nova during the 2019 campaign.)
Perhaps the best summation of Guerrero's majestic home run came from the home team's broadcast. "Well Buck," play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman said to his boothmate Buck Martinez after Guerrero made contact, "I think he's going to put the jacket on."
The Blue Jays, of course, have a celebratory "home-run jacket" they don after rounding the bases. Guerrero has and will continue to wear it often.