Update on child who took Vladimir Guerrero Jr. line drive to face is surprisingly positive

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) /

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the Home Run Derby, but it wasn’t without incident. Let’s check in on the poor kid who took a professionally smacked line drive to the face. 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby with a mesmerizing display of power. Swinging for the fences is second nature for Vladdy Jr.; there aren’t many players who swing harder.

Guerrero hit 72 moonshots on Monday night, including 25 in the final round to narrowly edge out Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena (23). He toppled Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez and Los Angeles’ Mookie Betts beforehand.

Now, the Blue Jays’ slugger will join his father, Vlad Sr., in the derby history books as the only father-son duo to both win the event. It’s a special moment that should resonate within that family for decades to come.

Unfortunately, while Guerrero was celebrating, others were worried about the health of a kid who Guerrero accidentally belted with a line drive. That line drive traveled 115.8 MPH off Guerrero’s bat and thwacked one of the ceremonial child outfielders right in the chin.


Update on kid who took Vladimir Guerrero Jr. line drive to face at HR Derby

Obviously the fault lies not with Guerrero, but with the league. Letting children roam the outfield while the best power hitters in the world intentionally swinging as hard as possible has always been a recipe for disaster. It’s no doubt a great experience for the kids, but c’mon — the risk is unavoidable.

Events like Monday night’s facial are inevitable so long as the league trots out inexperienced gloves. Thankfully, the kid seems to be doing alright.

Silver lining for the kid: what a story to tell for the rest of your life. His kids, his grandkids, anyone he meets on the street, perhaps a special someone he’s looking to impress — he’ll always have a go-to life experience that’s sure to draw some oohs and ahhs from any audience.

Hopefully that ice pack worked its magic and he doesn’t have any lingering ill-effects. It’s hard to overstate the danger of children taking 115.8 MPH liners to the chin, but he appears to have avoided any significant maladies.

There will certainly be some level of pressure on the league to reconsider the annual tradition of placing children in the outfield at the HR Derby. It’s dangerous. There’s built-in risk to attending any baseball game — home runs can hurt you just as easily sitting in the stands — but it’s probably best to mitigate the risk wherever possible.

Meanwhile, Guerrero will compete in his third straight All-Star game on Tuesday evening. The first baseman is batting .274 with 13 homers and 58 RBIs on the season; he’s not done roping shots to left field. The hope is no more kids are placed in the danger zone when it happens.

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