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The season that was: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

A look at Vlad’s 2022 season

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Coming off a terrific 2021 season, we expected a lot from Vladimir Guerrero. Fourth season in the majors and 23, I’d trade places with him. What was I doing at 23? My kids would tell you I was fighting off dinosaurs (and not CGI ones).

So this season was a bit of a disappointment.

Standard Batting
160 706 638 90 175 35 0 32 97 8 3 58 116 .274 .339 .480 .818 132 26 6 6
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2022.

Baseball Reference has him at a 3.7WAR. FanGraphs 2.8 which gave him a value of $22.1 million to the Blue Jays.

He had a .351 wOBA and a 132 wRC+.

Vladimir’s BABIP was .289 (down from .313 last year).

His walk rate was 8.2% (down from 12.3%). Strikeout rate was 16.4% (up slightly from 15.8).

Vlad’s line-drive rate was down a bit from last year (17.3% from 18.8). Ground ball rate was up (52.1 from 44.8%). Fly balls down (30.6 from 36.5). Less of his fly balls left the park (19.9% from 26.5).

Soft contact was up (15.2% from 10.7%), and hard contact was down (38.2% from 41.7% (still 6th best in the AL)).

Once again, Vlad was better vs. RHP (.280/.343/.498) than LHP (.246/.320/.391).

And he hit slightly better at home (.273/.300/.511) than on the road (.276/.346/.449).

He hit about the same in the first half of the season (.271/.346/.484) as the second half (.279/.329/.474).

Vlad by month:

  • April: ..286/.352/.546 with 6 home runs, 9 walks, 19 strikeouts, in 21 games.
  • May: .217/.333/.348 with 3 home runs, 13 walks, 14 strikeouts, in 26 games.
  • June: .283/.372/.566 with 9 home runs, 15 walks, 27 strikeouts, in 28 games.
  • July: .340/.373/.524 with 3 home runs, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts, in 26 games.
  • August: .291/.325/.521 with 6 home runs, 6 walks, 14 strikeouts, in 27 games.
  • September: .235/.291/.390 with 5 home runs, 10 walks, 27 strikeouts, in 32 games.

He hit .267/.425/.425 with RISP.

Defensively? He seemed pretty good. He did have the second most errors in the AL at first. Of course, a couple of those were because of balls fighting their way through his glove.

One thing I’d like baseball to do, for first basemen, is to separate 3-1 assists from other assists that first basemen get. It looks like Vlad has a great arm, and he looks good throwing to second but he had 47 assists while the top four in the AL have 70-75 assists. But then most of those are 1-3 assists. Some teams insist that their first baseman always toss to the pitcher on plays like that. Vlad takes runs to first himself a lot of the time. I’d love to see if his assists to other bases match the other first basemen in the league.

FanGraphs has him at a -4.0 UZR/150. I don’t trust advanced stats for first basemen. Baseball Savant has him at a -4 in Outs Above Average.

Just like last year, he played 2 innings at third base.

As a baserunner, FanGraphs has him at a -6.0 run compared to the average player. He had 8 stolen bases (caught 3 times).

Vlad hit:

  • 2nd: 64 games: .287/.336/.471
  • 3rd: 94 games: .267/.341/.459.

His longest hitting streak was 22 games.

His longest on-base streak was 22 games.

The longest he went without a home run was 15 games.

His favourite team to face was the Cubs (500/.539/.833 in just 3 games. Among teams he faced more, he was best against the Twins (.333/.394/.767 in 7 games) and the Red Sox (.375/.464/.750).

His least favourite? Reds, hitting ..000/.083/.000 in 3 games. He hit .154/.214/.346 in 7 games against the Angels.

Times facing a starter:

  • First: .252/.285/.444.
  • Second: .292/.344/.562.
  • Third: .371/.411/.598.

As down seasons go, this was a pretty good one.We always want players to progress linearly, but that’s not how life works. Everyone has up and down seasons. Hopefully, next year will be a better one. But still, being fifth in home runs and 6th in RBI isn’t all that bad.

But his loss of control over the strike zone does worry me. He’s always had a good eye at the plate, but this year not as much. Was he maybe feeling pressure to carry the team? I don’t see why there would be more pressure than last year. I’m expecting the walk rate will improve next year.A lot was made of his double-play numbers, but then right-handed power hitters hit into many double plays. That was one of the things they used to say about Hall of Famer Jim Rice. He led the league in GDP four years in a row, getting 29, 31, 36 and 35 from 1882 to 1985.

Right-handed power hitters pull the ball toward short and hit the ball hard. So, of course, there will be double plays. So you have right-handed power hitters, you gotta deal with the double plays. The leaders this year:

Rowdy Tellez is the outlier.So where is he compared to his Hall of Fame dad? After the end of Vlad Sr.’s 23 season, he had 50 home runs. Jr. has 104. Dad hit 42 in his age 24 year, so Junior will have to have a big year to keep his 54 homer lead.

Vlad is a ‘finalist’ for the Gold Glove at first base. I’m not as big of a fan of his defense as others. I think he’s adequate with the glove but not one of the top few. Maybe in the future. But UZR has him as a poor first baseman, as does Outs Above Average. He had the second most errors at first in the AL, one behind Jose Abreu.He has 47 assists, sixth of 9 AL first basemen who played 100 games at the position. The top four had 70 or more assists. He was sixth in double plays, with 74. Nate Lowe, at the top of the league, had 115.

I don’t know. If Vlad is one of the best defensively, he’s hiding it well.All-in-all, for a disappointing season, it was still pretty good. And he is still the guy the other team doesn’t want to pitch to. He was intentionally walked six times. Alejandro Kirk was second on the team with 2.


For his 2022 season I would grade Vladimir Guerrero an

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