Toronto Blue Jays’ first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a stellar run during the 2021 season, carrying forth his family’s legacy to the sport and seemingly living up to the hype surrounding him since his long-awaited debut in 2019.
The strong season lead to him being awarded the Hank Aaron Award, alongside Bryce Harper, given to the most outstanding offensive players in both the American and National Leagues.
Guerrero Jr. was also nominated alongside his teammate Marcus Semien and two-way star Shohei Ohtani for the American League MVP.
Guerrero Jr. broke out this season in a way very few players 22 years old or younger ever have. He recorded a .311 batting average to go along with 48 home runs and 111 RBIs. He set an MLB record for the most home runs from a player 22 years old or younger, surpassing Eddie Matthews’ previous record of 47 home runs.
He ranked fourth all-time in OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) by a player 22 or younger in a single season with a .1002 OPS, ranking only behind Boog Powell (1.005), Eddie Matthews (1.026) and Bryce Harper (1.109).
The 22-year-old phenom also finished first in the American League for runs scored (123), wRC+ (166) and second for fWAR (6.7).
Guerrero Jr.'s season could have been even better if he continued at the pace he was going at heading into the all-star break.
He had a .332/.430/.658 slash line in the first-half compared to a .288/.367/.538 slash line in the second-half. While he was still impressive and one of the best hitters in the league in the second-half, it just puts it into perspective how utterly dominant he was at the beginning of the season.
Guerrero Jr. narrowly missed out on becoming the youngest player ever to win a Triple Crown (league leader in average, home runs and RBIs), as he finished the season second in batting average, while being first in RBIs and tied for first in home runs.
The Toronto Blue Jays may have missed the playoffs, but they have a bright future with Guerrero Jr. leading the way.