The sons of great baseball players can sometimes have difficulty playing in their father’s shadow and reaching their potential. But one former great’s offspring seems to be ready to take MLB by storm and online sportsbooks have released props for how Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will fare in his first season in the big leagues.
Online shop Sportsbook has a plethora of season-long props for how the No.1-ranked minor league prospect will do with the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2019 season. They offer OVER/UNDER props on how many at-bats he’ll have, how many home runs he will hit and his year-end batting average, among others.
Since mostly everyone in baseball knows he’ll be playing for the Jays at some point in the 2019 season, let’s examine each prop and see which ones we can slide in on and make a profit:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - At-Bats in 2019
I think the line of 495.5 is set too high, mainly because taking the OVER makes the assumption that Vladdy stays healthy for the entire season. Guerrero Jr. has had some injuries while tearing up the minors such as an oblique strain and a rolled ankle that forced him to miss chunks of time.
If we use last year’s super rookie Ronald Acuna as the baseline, he finished with 487 plate appearances but only 433 recorded at-bats after walks, sac flies and hit by pitches. And that was with the Braves in playoff contention with something to play for. I don’t anticipate GM Ross Atkins to go all-in like Braves management did last season nor do I see the Jays being so good that they feel the need to call him up before May to get off to a hot start.
The Pick: UNDER 495.5 -120
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - Batting Average for 2019 Season
I’m going UNDER 295.5 with this one because of the adjustment he’ll need to make to big-league pitching. Guerrero last year in AAA batted an insane .381 with a 1.073 OPS and hasn’t batted less than .300 in any stop during his minor league career but I’m skeptical that he can pull that off for an entire MLB season. Using Acuna as the baseline again, the Braves rookie raked a .293 batting average but didn’t really get hot in that category until August and September when rosters expanded. Since 2014, only three rookies have hit over .300 when getting 400 at-bats in a season, so the track record is dicey to bank on an OVER.
The Pick: UNDER 295.5 -120
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - Home Runs In 2019 Season
I’m going with the OVER 23.5 on this one because his power has been the main reason he’s so highly touted. He’ll still need to adjust to big-league pitching but it’s a strikeout-or-homer league and there will still be some games where he can catch a reliever off guard and put one into the seats. Acuna had 26 homers last year and some analysts believe Vladdy is a better hitter than Acuna is. Another reason why I like the OVER is how his minor-league stats project to the Show. Last year in the minors, he had 20 home runs in 357 at-bats with 14 of those dingers in AA ball. So, if he gets close to 400 at-bats, I have no problem projecting him to hit 25 home runs in his rookie season.
The Pick: OVER 23.5 -120
Will Guerrero Jr. Win AL Rookie of the Year?
At +140, I think it’s safe to assume that oddsmakers think he’s likely to win the award even though they haven’t released a full oddsboard with other potential candidates. If you think he’ll win this award, then you might as well take OVER on every prop listed on this page because I don’t see him taking home the hardware unless he bats at least .300 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs.
That’s a lofty goal for a 19-year-old kid who has yet to play a regular-season game but because the Jays roster is so barren of talent, he’d likely be the second-best hitter on the team behind Justin Smoak as soon as he makes his debut. I wouldn’t make this bet mainly because of a ton of unknowns. He could get hurt, he could struggle and get sent back down, or another rookie we’re not even thinking about could emerge and steal his thunder. Too much volatility for the price tag of +140 so I’m betting against him.
The Pick: No -200
Will Guerrero Jr. Be in the Blue Jays Starting Lineup on Sportsbook Day?
I won’t spend too much time on this prop because it’s almost a given that Vladdy starts this season in the minors. MLB’s archaic system for minor league players allows teams to hold them back for the first month of the season to retain a year of service before they have to pay them like a top free agent. Considering he’s the prized jewel of the Jays’ farm system, they would almost be foolish to have him on the Sportsbook Day roster with a squad that looks pegged to win less than 80 games.