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SUNNY FUTURES

AT PANINI’S SPRING TRAINING ROAD TRIP IN TAMPA, BECKETT BASEBALL SPOKE TO YOUNG PLAYERS FROM THE BLUE JAYS, YANKEES AND TIGERS WHO HAVE MADE THEIR MLB DEBUTS OR ARE ABOUT TOEMBARK ON A CAREER IN THE SHOW

VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR. HAD BARELY STEPPED INTO THE BACK CORNER CONFERENCE ROOM OF TAMPA’S FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON SUITES HOTEL WHEN SOMEONE IN THE ROOM ANNOUNCED, “VLAD JR. IS IN THE HOUSE!” And with that, even several of the other prospects signing their autographs for Panini as part of the Florida leg of the company’s annual Spring Training Road Trip, looked up.

Everybody knows Vlad Jr. Before he sat down to sign a little more than 1,000 cards, Junior worked the room a little. He spoke to Yankees pitcher Domingo Acevedo. He introduced himself to Tigers pitcher Matt Manning – and those two should have some epic confrontations in the big leagues soon – and then shook hands with Estevan Florial, ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Yankees’ organization by Baseball America. And then Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got down to the business of signing his cards.

At the Tampa stop in late March, more than 20 players signed cards and other items for future Panini products. “This event seems to grow every year,” Panini’s Tracy Hackler said. “It benefits our products all year, and we look at the Panini Spring Training Road Trip as a marquee event for us, and our product development team structures their calendar around this. We’ve tried to get more on-card autographs, and this event helps us get that.”

Guerrero Jr. just turned 20 in March, but he’s already caught on to the nuances of being both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect in baseball. He understands, if not fully embraces, the hype that comes from the fact that he batted.402 with a.449 On-Base Percentage at Double-A last season. flat went with 14 HR and 60 RBI in 266 plate appearances, which included almost as many walks as strikeouts.

Now it’s just a matter of time before he reaches the highest level. And that should be quick.

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Beckett Baseball June 2019, Special Art Issue, And More....