Photo: Eric Bolte - USA TODAY Sports

Guerrero Jr. named Minor League Player of the Year

Baseball America bestows the honor to Bisons third baseman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

September 07, 2018 - 5:41 pm

Kyle Powell reporting

Much to no one's surprise, über-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took home some serious honors this season for his efforts in the minor leagues in 2018.

The Buffalo Bisons third baseman was named the 2018 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. While it was not the September call-up that fans and (probably) player would have anticipated and enjoyed, this honor is the next-best thing for a young man who has yet to exit his teenage years.

The 19-year old's 2018 campaign spanned four different minor league levels. In the Gulf Coast League, baseball's third-ranked prospect hit .333 in three games with the GCL Blue Jays. With Dunedin in the Florida State League, Guerrero Jr. played a single game for rehabilitation purposes, where he hit .500 over four at-bats; he tallied a double and two runs-batted-in.

An extended stint in Double-A with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats was where the majority of Guerrero Jr.'s damage was done. Over 61 contests against Double-A competition, with a knee injury mixed in that cost him a month of action, he compiled a .402 batting average to go along with 14 home runs and 60 runs-batted-in.

Once Guerrero Jr. was healthy enough to prove worthy of another promotion, he was sent up the ladder, yet again, to Triple-A Buffalo. He spent his final 30 games of the summer in the International League with the Bisons, a place he abused for six home runs, 16 runs-batted-in, and a .336 average. To make matters more impressive, Guerrero Jr. walked more than he struck out (15:10). This was the only level where Guerrero Jr. boasted that claim.

Over these 95 games played, the son of 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Vladimir Guerrero racked up 20 home runs, 78 runs-batted-in, a whopping .437 on-base percentage, a 1.073 on-base-plus slugging percentage, and a cool .381 batting average. Up until the waning games of the campaign, there was an outside chance that Guerrero Jr. could have eclipsed the .400-mark in the batting average department. Unfortunately, over the last 10 games of the season, he only hit .308, falling short of the milestone.

The undoubted highlight of Guerrero Jr.'s season was a four-game span with the Bisons from August 8-11, where he popped a home run in consecutive games. His efforts earned him International Batter of the Week honors. Buffalo went 2-2 over that span of time.

As mentioned earlier, the end result that would have stood as "icing on the cake" of an incredible season would have been a September call-up to the Toronto Blue Jays. With service time playing such a major role in today's game of baseball, though, major league club stood pat and opted not to start Guerrero Jr.'s clock of control until some point in 2019.

Look for Guerrero Jr. to make his much-anticipated Major League debut mid-way through April of next season. It is expected that the organization will be taking a page out of the books of the Chicago Cubs (Kris Bryant, April 17, 2015) and the Atlanta Braves (Ronald Acuña, Jr., April 25, 2018) and promote their top-rated prospect shortly after the season begins.

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