Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: Our Esquina MLB Player of the Year
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. acknowledged as Our Esquina's Latino MLB player of the year.
If not for the historic exploits of Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would have won the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player award. Though he wasn’t yet able to achieve this accomplishment, he helped usher in an era of players from Latin America who are sure to dominate Major League Baseball for the foreseeable future.
For this reason, Our Esquina honors Vladdy as the Latino MLB Player of the Year. Offensively, Guerrero was the most outstanding player in the game, ranking in the Top 5 in at least eight of the most important categories.
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
|Runs Batted In
This season, Guerrero hit 48 home runs, more than any player age-22 or younger in MLB history. He has set the bar high for years to come. If his work ethic is an indicator of anything, it’s that he intends to remain elite for the remainder of his career.
Fernando Tatis Jr. continued to show why he is the face of baseball. This season, Bebo appeared in 130 games, breaking the top 10 in home runs (42), extra-base hits (73), and slugging (.611). If not for injuries, he would most certainly have joined the 30-30 club.
This season, Juan Soto officially established himself as the best hitter in baseball. He posted the highest on-base percentage (.465) since Chipper Jones posted a .470 OBP in 2008 and drew more walks since Barry Bonds in 2004. He was the only MLB player this season to walk more than he struck out.
This year, Starling Marte established himself as a legitimate 5-tool threat. Not only did he post the best OPS of his career, but he also led MLB with 47 stolen bases. This made him one of the most attractive free agents this offseason, earning him a four-year, $78 million deal with the New York Mets.
Just two years removed from missing an entire season with an elbow injury, Royals catcher Salvador Perez made history in 2021. His league-leading 48 home runs – tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – are the most dingers hit by a catcher since Johnny Bench’s 45 in 1970.
For the second consecutive season, Julio Urías put himself in baseball’s history books. First, he closed the 2020 World Series, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers win their first title since 1988. Then in 2021, he led the majors in victories and became only the fourth Mexican pitcher ever to win 20 or more games.
A few more…
For the fifth consecutive season, Carlos Correa helped lead the Houston Astros to the American League Championship Series. In that time, his team has reached the World Series three times and won one of them. With Correa declaring free agency, the Astros will surely miss his production on both sides of the ball if he signs elsewhere. This season, Correa took home his first American League Platinum Glove, awarded to the best defensive player in each league.
Second baseman Ozzie Albies established himself as one of the best infielders in MLB. The Atlanta Braves relied on Albies to carry the team after losing their best player Ronald Acuña Jr. Albies delivered, posting 30 home runs and earning a Silver Slugger award.
Not since Barry Bonds in 2004 has a player age 37 or older won a batting title. Yuli Gurriel did just that in 2021, leading the American League with a .319 batting average. For his performance, Houston has opted to bring him back next season to defend his title. He joined Hall of Famer Tony Oliva as the only natives of Cuba to win batting titles in the AL.
Miguel Cabrera become only the 28th player to join the 500 home run club. He is only 13 hits shy of becoming just the 33rd player to join the 3,000 hit club. What does this all mean? Well, it means that barring an unforeseen circumstance, Miggy has already about punched his ticket to Cooperstown
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