My relationship with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is an 80s rock ballad. There was a time when I believed in love. And much like his plate discipline, Gurriel and I fell apart. I never thought he’d hurt me, I guess you live and learn, that when you’re playin’ with fire, you’re bound to get burned. And burned I was. I remember it like it was yesterday… as if it was archived on this very website (here). After starting slow in 2019, he was sent down mid-April to correct his approach, and then returned posting a 20/6/.277 line in 2019. May and June he was as hot as can be, then in August he was as cold as ice, and he was willing to sacrifice our love. Why’d he gone so cold?
He was hitting groundballs at a high clip and his hard-hit rate had dropped. But then, in 2020, he found his mojo, and my love, again. In the short season, he maintained his newfound HR/FB ratio of 20% that he discovered in 2019 and was pulling the ball over 40% again. Even though he ended the previous season cold, he seemed to have maintained the gains he made; this tiger could hunt. This Gurriel’s not a lady, he’s a love bomb baby. Love bomb baby, come ‘n’ blow me away (with your home run power).
2021 I was all in again. But that too was not meant to be. April and May the thorns began to show again. Was it something I said or something I did? Did the words not come out right? The groundballs were back, and his Pull% dropped, from the 40s down into the low 30s, and his hard-hit% dropped below 30 for the first time since 2019. I didn’t want to cut him, but the scar still remained.
I was ready to give up and move on in my life. I wanted to be free and… I could have cried. I could have cried… I don’t love you anymore, I saw your walk-rate hit the floor. There’s no room on this roster anymore. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, to break away from the hurt that came from you.
Then we saw a glimmer of hope in June. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. posted a line of 12/5/15/.302 with a SLG of .547… did he find something? A bit of luck. His HR/FB rate bounced back up to 20% but his GB% was still north of 45%. And he was still pulling only around 35%. I wanted to give him a chance again but he was going back to his old ways. It looked like he was changing, but it was only on the surface.
July was a dose of reality again as he only hit .235 with 2 home runs. I thought that there was nothing that would bring you back. Another lonely night is callin’, and in my heart, the rain was falling like his fly-ball rate. It dipped back below 30% and he had an infield fly rate of 12.5%. The power had faded and the love had jaded. But at the end of the season, everything changed…
— Ohtani Stan Account (@CoolwhipRB) January 21, 2022
Tears don’t put out the fire, and his memory only fans the flames. Gurriel rose from the ashes like a phoenix and ended the season strong. I can see a new horizon underneath the blazin’ sky, as his barrel rate flew higher and higher. The fire was back. And the journey back to hard contact led him back to me. My heart didn’t stop believing. We had gone separate ways, but I was willing to welcome him back with open arms. Lourdes, I was ready to be hurt again. His hard-hit rate had risen back to 47.4%. That’s the kind of numbers he was putting up in 2020.
Not only was he hitting the ball harder, but his barrel rate increased to nearly 20% in September. The only thing he’s missing is a little extra launch angle which he tapped into a bit in September. Lourdes Gurriel has rediscovered his power stroke and he might be on the verge of breaking out, again. This is the first season, despite his struggles, that he has had a positive run value above 3 on 5 different pitches. His previous high was 3 pitches in 2020 and was only on the Slider in 2019. All he needs to do is slightly increase his average launch angle and get back to pulling the ball.
Here I go again. Now I’m hot-blooded you can check it and see. Just looking at that chart has me weak in the knees. It seems like he’s at the cusp of really taking off. I’m ready to get hurt again. I get kicked in the face and come back for more. Oh Lourdes, don’t treat me bad. Currently, his NFBC ADP is around 142, which seems rather wild to me. He’s going to be in a stacked lineup that will score runs and he’s got 20+ home run power with a handful of steals and a .270 AVG, doesn’t hurt you anywhere. There’s plenty of upside value taking him anywhere around that value, as some sustained production would place easily in the top 100. Why can’t we give love that one more chance? Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love…? No pressure.
If you want more Coolwhip to top off your baseball experience, fantasy or otherwise, you can follow me on Twitter: @CoolwhipRB.