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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Delivers Even More Power



[caption id="attachment_200774" align="alignnone" width="640"]
Vladimir Guerrero (Photo by Danny Arnold)[/caption]

TORONTOVladimir Guerrero Jr.’s hot start at low Class A Lansing comes as no surprise to those who watched the third baseman light it up at minor league camp.

"I saw him playing and I can see,” teammate Yeltsin Gudino said. "He’s got more power.”

Given that the Guerrero’s pop already graded as a 70 tool on the 20-80 scouting scale, that’s saying something. But the 18-year-old did the right kind of bulking up over the winter, and his thicker upper body is helping him launch baseballs even farther.

"I gained a little bit of weight,” said Guerrero, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, in comments translated by Gudino. "But it’s because I’m working with the strength and conditioning coach and following the program.”

The Blue Jays signed Guerrero for $3.9 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. He entered pro ball last year at Rookie-level Bluefield, where he showed the kind of plate discipline his superstar father Vladimir Sr. never did, walking 33 times against 35 strikeouts while hitting .271/.359/.449.

Through his first 13 games at Lansing, Guerrero has picked up right where he left off, batting .295 with two homers, six RBIs and nine walks versus just seven strikeouts.

"I’ve been working on my offense,” said Guerrero, 18, "trying to hit the ball to the middle of the field and just be focused and consistent on my good swing.”

Guerrero’s physical gains have helped him become more comfortable at the hot corner, according to the Blue Jays. Initially projected as a right fielder, he now has a chance to stay at third base and be an average, perhaps better, defender.

The Lugnuts also feature another top Blue Jays prospect with big league bloodlines, shortstop Bo Bichette, and the duo offers a vision of a potential left side of the infield the Blue Jays can dream about for years down the road.

But lots of development awaits first.

"Keep working hard,” Guerrero said. "That’s the key.”

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