Sports | April 30, 2019 10:05 am

Baseball’s Top Prospect’s Biggest Problem Is Himself

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s conditioning is a huge concern for the Toronto Blue Jays

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
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In his first series with the Toronto Blue Jays, top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 3-for-12 with a double.

Not exactly a dominant debut, but the Blue Jays aren’t concerned about Guerrero’s bat. However, they are a tad bit worried about his butt — the growing size of it.

Listed at 6′ 2″ and 250 pounds on BaseballReference, Guerrero is noticeably not in the best shape in the world and Toronto is concerned the 20-year-old’s lack of conditioning could have long-term implications for his career and health.

While poor conditioning won’t necessarily harm Guerrero at the plate, it does have the potential to make him a defensive liability as well as harm his durability.

Concerns about Guerrero’s weight have dogged him throughout his career and actually led multiple scouting directors from other teams to pass on trying to bring him into their organizations.

Ismael Cruz, who scouted Guerrero as a teenager in the Dominican Republic and now works for the LA Dodgers, also had concerns.

“He was a chubby kid with a loud bat, ” Cruz told the Wall Street Journal. “Some people thought, ‘Well, if he’s 14 and overweight, just wait until he’s 21—he’s going to weigh 300 pounds.’”

Guerrero’s conditioning has already had an effect on his career as the Blue Jays transitioned him from playing the outfield to playing third base because he didn’t run well and lacked a good throwing arm.

“It’s hard to really work on your quickness and those abilities defensively if you’re not at the optimal size to do it,” said Bobby Meacham, Guerrero’s Triple-A manager.