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Vladimir Guerrero vs. the Strike Zone

On Monday night, Los Angeles Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero hit his 400th career home run to become one of six players in major league history to reach that homer plateau while maintaining a .320 batting average.

While you can argue whether Guerrero deserves to someday be in the Hall of Fame (thanks to the Steroid Era, 400 homers doesn't mean what it used to), you can't deny that Guerrero has been one of the more feared and entertaining hitters of his generation.

Guerrero may not possess a Manny Ramirez amount of quirks but there's something about a guy who can really only do two things well: hose guys out from the outfield and hack away at any ball he sees fit. In some regards this makes Vladimir Guerrero the best rec-league softball player ever as strike zones and cut-off men are merely suggestions.

The question I was kicking around after Guerrero hit his 399th and 400th against the Tampa Bay Rays was, "What if Vladimir Guerrero was a more selective hitter?"

Would his numbers be better? Would he still have the same air about him or would his use of greater discretion turn him into the AL version of Albert Pujols? It's entirely possible that if Guerrero obeyed the rules of a strike zone that he would be better but not as intrinsically fun to watch. There really is something enjoyable about watching a player golf shots out of the ballpark one pitch after looking foolish for swinging at similar garbage.

So it is this question I pose to you all, would Vladimir Guerrero be a better player than he is now if he worked strictly inside the box?

By CJ Holley  |  August 12, 2009; 12:02 PM ET
Categories:  Angels  | Tags: home runs, los angeles angels, vladimir guerrero  
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Probably. You wouldn't encourage anyone else to hit like him, but he has a unique skill set that works for him. It's like Jim Furyk's golf swing. You'd never teach anyone that swing, but it works for him. Changing it would almost certainly not work as well, because it's not his swing.

Vlad has a strike zone. Instead of the knees to the armpits it's from the showlaces to the bill of his cap. Doesn;t mean he lacks discernment.

Posted by: dlk117561 | August 12, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

You would not want him to waste the time figuring out if it is a strike. If my bat can reach it, I can hit it.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | August 12, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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