That got people talking.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is ranked by Baseball America and MLB.com as baseball’s No. 1 prospect, added to his mystique when he cracked the first home run of his Triple-A career in the Buffalo Bisons 6-1 win over Gwinnett on Wednesday.
A clear-cut no doubt shot, Guerrero jumped on a high fastball delivered by Kyle Wright and sent in over the ‘404’ wall in center field to give the Herd a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning.
“He said he thanks God that it happened. Like the first one in Double-A,” Guerrero Jr. said through Blue Jays infield coordinator Danny Solano.
For Guerrero, there was satisfaction in getting that first dinger at the next level. But more than the home run is fact that Guerrero is finally starting to see quality pitches on a consistent basis.
“The difference is that (Wednesday) night I was waiting for that pitch,” Guerrero said. “I’m looking for my pitch. When I (see) it I’ll swing.”
Batting .455 in 15 games with the Bisons, Guerrero has already drawn eight walks. Three of which came during his Triple-A debut. Opposing pitchers were backing off of Guerrero. They were nibbling around the plate and being overly cautious in their pitch selection.
The fact that Guerrero remained patient at the plate when pitchers were not challenging him speaks to the maturity of the Bisons’ 19-year-old third baseman. Bisons skipper Bobby Meacham said he is impressed by Guerrero’s plate discipline and how he hasn’t lost focus or chased bad pitches.
“He saw nine pitches Wednesday and basically he did a lot of damage,” Meacham said. “He was getting his pitches to hit and that’s what it takes to be a good hitter. First of all, you have to know what your pitch is, and recognize it when it comes out of the pitcher’s hand and you’re able to attack that one and lay off the bad ones. That’s what you’re seeing him do so far and hopefully he’ll continue that.”
Going 3-for-4 in Wednesday’s win, Guerrero also flashed the leather in the field. Working on sharpening his defense has been a key focus for Guerrero.
“Right now I know I can do basically I want to be an all-around good player,” Guerrero said.
Solano, who works with the fielders throughout the Jays minor league system, said he has seen Vlad’s commitment to being the best overall player he can be.
“It’s like he said before he knows he wants to be a good all-around player,” Solano said. “People sometimes say they don’t really believe he can play third and he knows that. So basically he puts a lot of work in because he wants to prove everyone wrong.”
The Bisons homestand continues through Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. first pitch.