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Early struggles could prove valuable for Guerrero Jr.

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TSN Baseball Insider


Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally had the performance the baseball world was waiting for, hitting two home runs on Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants.

It almost feels like his career started that night. He looked relaxed and confident. He has six hits in 21 at-bats since manager Charlie Montoyo gave Guerrero a day off and then slotted him in the second spot in the lineup. Changing up the energy and mindset may have helped him get going.

Plus, the new lineup position may have given Guerrero a fresh perspective, making him feel like his performance was about to change. Pitchers attack hitters differently depending upon where they are in the lineup and the circumstances in the game.

The early struggles could prove to be very valuable to Guerrero in the long run. I know that sounds odd, so let me explain.

When I was the minor league director for the New York Mets, prior to becoming the general manager, I learned that it’s important for players to fail. They need to struggle because it allows them to learn what it takes to get out of slumps. They figure out what it takes – physically, mentally and emotionally – to deal with downtimes. Even the very best players are bound to go through struggles.

The Jays’ 20-year-old star never really slumped in the minors. He never had those moments where the voice in his head questioned his ability. I’m sure he had some tough moments over the first 10 or 11 games of his big-league career. The next time he scuffles, and there will be a next time, he’ll be able to fall back on this experience to help him get back on track more quickly.

Struggling Hernandez sent to Buffalo

The Jays sent Alen Hanson, Socrates Brito and Thomas Pannone to Triple-A Buffalo last week. On Thursday, the Jays sent outfielder Teoscar Hernandez down as well. He had been struggling miserably at the plate (.189/.262/.299).

All of these moves are a message to the players that there are no scholarships in professional baseball. It is........