Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally displayed the abilities that earned him the label as the top prospect in baseball.
The 20-year-old was a showstopper in his 14th major league game, hitting the first two homers of his career Tuesday. He looks to inflict more damage Wednesday when the Toronto Blue Jays visit the San Francisco Giants in the finale of a two-game set.
The son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero was 3-for-4 with four RBIs in Toronto's 7-3 win over the Giants in the series opener. The homers, both to center field, traveled 438 and 451 feet as Toronto won for just the third time in the past 13 games.
"That was fun to watch," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said postgame. "We knew that was coming. Glad it's here.
"He's that good. He could carry a team if he gets hot. I don't want to put a lot of pressure on him, but he's the No. 1 prospect."
Guerrero was just 9-for-47 (.191) with one RBI entering play Tuesday.
His first blast made him the youngest player in franchise history to homer at 20 years, 59 days. The previous mark was held by Danny Ainge (20 years, 77 days in 1979), a two-sport player who is now the general manager for the NBA's Boston Celtics.
Guerrero told reporters through a team translator that he listened to advice from his father.
"Like he always told me, 'Don't look for home runs. They're going to come,'" Guerrero said. "I'm going to give both balls and the bat to my dad. I'm going to keep using everything that I used today except the bat that I really want to give to my dad."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was mighty impressed with what he witnessed.
"This kid is going to be a great player, he really is," Bochy said. "You saw the bat speed, you saw how fast the ball comes off his bat. I've seen his dad hit balls like that."
Guerrero will be facing highly regarded right-hander Shaun Anderson in the series finale. Anderson, rated as the Giants' fourth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, will be called up on Wednesday to make his major league debut. The 24-year-old is 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Sacramento.
"He's a guy that's throwing as well as anybody," Bochy said in reference to the organization's Triple-A arms. "So that's why he's here."
Anderson was one of two minor-leaguers acquired from Boston in July 2017 when the Giants sent Eduardo Nunez to the Red Sox.
Toronto will activate journeyman Edwin Jackson prior to Wednesday's game to make his club debut. The 35-year-old veteran was acquired from the Oakland Athletics on Saturday for cash.
Once the game begins, Jackson will set a major league record by playing for his 14th different team. He currently shares the record with former reliever Octavio Dotel (1999-2013).
"It's a fun trivia fact," Jackson told Toronto reporters on Tuesday. "For me, I'm just blessed and happy to be back where I feel I can pitch. I feel like I'm a major league player and I've proven I can play in the big leagues. I'm very grateful."
Jackson is 104-123 with a 4.60 ERA in 394 appearances (305 starts) since first reaching the majors in 2003. This will mark his first major league appearance in 2019. He was 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in three appearances for two Athletics farm teams this year.
"To tell you the truth, I haven't seen him pitch for a while," Montoyo said of Jackson. "But I know he's a gamer and I know he competes because I've seen him many times."
Jackson is 5-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 14 career appearances (13 starts) against the Giants.
San Francisco, which got a two-run homer from Pablo Sandoval on Tuesday, has lost four of its past five games.
--Field Level Media