Vladimir Guerrero (Sr?) is one of the absolute coolest players of my lifetime. For a number of reasons: great name, played for the Expos, awesome batting stance, could hit any pitch thrown remotely near the plate, and he had an absolute CANNON for an arm in right field. For his career Vlad accumulated 449 homers and 2590 total hits all while batting .318 (56th best all time). He made nine all-star teams, won eight silver sluggers and was the 2004 American League MVP in a season that included Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and David Ortiz in their primes. It's going to be awfully tough for his son to have a better career, but through just a season and a half in the minors he's off to an exciting start.
Vlad Jr. entered 2017 ranked 16th on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list. After a few months of raking for the Blue Jays' Single-A affiliate Guerrero moved all the way up to NUMBER TWO in the midseason ranks. The only player ahead of him, Yoan Moncada, is now in the majors and will likely stay there for the remainder of the year. That means there is a pretty good chance Vlad Jr. is deemed the best prospect in all of baseball come next February.
So what kind of player is Vlad's son? He's similar to his dad in a lot of ways (great power, humble personality) but also very different in other areas of the game. For starters Vlad Jr. is currently playing in the minors as a third baseman. He's a big kid (6'1", 200 lbs) and right now defense remains one of his most raw skills. It's unclear if he's going to have to eventually switch positions, but the kid's bat is going to play anywhere.
Speaking about that bat...so far in 2017 (between two levels of A-ball) Vlad Jr. has hit .304/.398/.446 with seven homers and seven stolen bases. That's great, but perhaps the most encouraging sign for his development is the fact that he has 46 walks as opposed to just 42 strikeouts this year. That kind of discipline is rare for such a young hitter. It doesn't mean it'll last. It's definitely much easier to lay off some Single-A scrub's curveball than it will be to lay off Chris Sale's slider, but it's an extremely positive sign. It shows Vlad Jr. is capable of making contact (which often results in mammoth, tape measuring homers) AND he's capable of getting on base at a high rate.
The Blue Jays are in a weird spot right now. It seems their window to win has slammed shut after two straight ALCS appearances. David Price is gone. Edwin Encarnacion is gone. Josh Donaldson is a free agent after 2018. Toronto will be forced to start anew and the face of that rebuild is going to be Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He's going to take some time to develop (he's just 18!!) but so far he's everything you want in a top prospect. He can hit, hit for power, draw a walk, run a bit, and is a humble, hard working kid who is trying out outgrow his father's shadow. It's going to be fun watching him develop.