Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wants to push MVP

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TORONTO – Every time Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grabs a bat, struts on the plate and stares at an opposing pitcher, the fans at Rogers Center respond with a three-syllable serenade.

Guerrero – who led the American League Hitters in OPS (1,001) and fWAR (6,6) as well as the majors in Runs (120) and Total Bases (349) on Wednesday – has put himself in an excellent position to compete for the highest individual honor the AL. He hears his followers loud and clear, even though he’s doing his best to block them out.

“To be honest, I try not to pay too much attention to it, even if I hear it naturally and it feels great,” Guerrero said of Hector Lebron’s translator in August. “But I’m just trying to focus on the bat right now.”

As Toronto makes its playoff push in the final week of the season, Guerrero is trying to put the finishing touches on a potential award-winning campaign. To do this, he needs to complete a strong September and early October, and he doesn’t have to stop by his father to find the blueprint.

Vladimir Guerrero Sr., the 2004 AL MVP with Anaheim, took an epic rift last month of the season to secure the hardware against New Yorker Gary Sheffield and Boston Manny Ramirez.

Here’s what Guerrero Sr. has accomplished in his last 30 games:

• Slash: .363 / .424 / .726
• OPS: 1,150
• Home runs: 11
• RBIs: 25th

And in 26 games since early September, Guerrero Jr. has done this:

• Slash: .317 / .395 / .574
• OPS: .969
• Home runs: 7th
• RBIs: 9

Guerrero Jr. obviously has some work to do to make the kind of case his father did. But that’s only because the 22-year-old is in the worst “slump” of his season: 1-on-20 in his last five games on Wednesday, with zero RBIs and zero extra base hits. His current hitless streak of four games is astonishingly the longest of his season.

“In order to be able to be taken into account at all [for] MVP, being able to do what he’s been doing for a long time and not really having a big valley is very impressive in and of itself, ”said outfielder Corey Dickerson. “That speaks for his talent. It’s just amazing to watch. You lean back in awe. “

Guerrero’s fantastic season started with scorching spring practice when he scored 1,247 OPS in 17 games. This type of production, also in the casual context of drama, attracts the league’s attention.

“I feel like he’s an MVP,” Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge told reporters on Tuesday. “I spoke to some guys from the spring training and he had quite an impressive spring training. I said, ‘Man, Vlad is about to go.’ Indeed he did. Only consistent with bats. I know a lot of people on this team have had really good years, but he is the divider for them I think. “

Guerrero is believed to be chasing Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani in the AL MVP race. Ohtani has a 3.18 ERA in 130 1/3 innings, as well as 45 homers and a 0.962 OPS on the plate.

Prior to his most recent tough patch, Guerrero had 1,160 OPS in his first 21 games in September. He can go on this type of run anytime, and right now the playoff hungry Blue Jays really need it.

Guerrero does it too, if he hopes to fulfill the hopes of all the fans who won the “MVP!” Chants.


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