The Toronto Blue Jays were on top of the A.L just two years ago. They won the division with a record of 93-69. They were led by AL MVP Josh Donaldson. However, fast forward only two years later to the 2017 season and they fell to a disappointing 76-86. Finishing fourth in the division.
The Blue Jays must pick themselves up and ask the question “where did we go wrong?” The Blue Jays must have reflected on their bad season and thought that offseason moves wouldn’t help too much because they barely made any offseason moves.
This Is Good Enough, Right?
As mentioned above the Blue Jays were not particularly active during the offseason. Their biggest move was the acquisition of San Diego Padres infielder Yangervis Solarte. Solarte will come into the 2018 season for the Blue Jays with a career batting average of .267. This move was a decent one but it is safe to say that Solarte will not have an amazing season.
The Blue Jays only other notable move was that of signing former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Curtis Granderson. But Granderson is way out of his prime at the age of 36 and is coming off his worst season ever in which he only batted .161.
The Old Faithfuls
Although a slow offseason the Blue Jays still have a pretty stacked roster of position players. The Blue Jays will gladly get to see former MVP, Josh Donaldson return after a 2017 campaign which saw him hit .270 with 33 dingers. Look for Donaldson to put the team on his back and try to help the Blue Jays take the division.
The Jays will also have Troy Tulowitzki in 2018 although he is currently injured and not expected to play on opening day. But Tulowitzki performance is declining as he grows older and deals with continuous injuries. Tulowitzki is now 33 and is coming off a year where he hit just .249. But maybe 33 is the new 23 and he will have a comeback year, after all, it is possible.
Catcher Russel Martin will also be back for the Jays in 2018 after having a disappointing year in 2017 only hitting .221 with 13 home runs. But he still has fielding skills that make up for his lack of hitting and he should play decently in 2018.
Blue Jays fans will get to see more amazing catches in the outfield provided by Kevin Pillar, who returns after signing a one year deal. Pillar will continue to show off his fielding skills and could even be a breakout player for the Jays leading them to a pennant.
The Blue Jays were able to sign international prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.—son of MLB Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. Guerrero JR is a third baseman who was ranked one of the best prospects by MLB.com. He should develop into a star for the Blue Jays, and don’t be surprised to see him get called up if the Jays season starts going south.
The Blue Jays also have shortstop Bo Bichette who is just 20 years old but is already making a splash in the minor leagues, having a career average of .372! Bichette has a knack for hitting doubles and should be a bright light for the Jays in the future. Bichette has a chance of being called up in September to the majors.
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As if two studs wasn’t enough already it seems the Jays have a third in 23-year-old outfielder Anthony Alford. Alford hit .299 with 19 steals in Double-A last year and is a promising prospect.
Middle Of The Pack Rotation
The Blue Jays rotation is not overly good or overly bad. They have a very good number one starter in Marcus Stroman who had a tremendous ERA in 2017 of only 3.09. Stroman should continue his great numbers in 2018 but now faces the challenge of pitching against a scary good A.L East division.
After Stroman in the rotation comes veteran J.A Happ who is a reliable pitcher for the Blue Jays. In 2017 he had an ERA of 3.53 after pitching just 145.1 innings.
The third pitcher in the Blue Jays rotation is the youngster Aaron Sanchez who had an injury-plagued 2017 only pitching 36 innings. Now Sanchez is aiming for a healthy season and if he has one should progress well for the Blue Jays.
Next up in the line is Marco Estrada. Estrada dealt with back injuries in 2017 leading him to have a poor year in which his ERA was 4.98. Most likely this should go down as he is now healthier in 2018.
The final pitcher is Jaime Garcia who the team added from the New York Yankees. But Garcia is not very good and has had many years with his ERA over four just like in 2017 when it was a high 4.82. What I am trying to convey is to not get excited about him in 2018.
An Aging Kendrys Morales
In 2018, expect Kendrys Morales numbers to greatly decrease as he is now 34 and in each of his last three seasons his batting average has decreased. Morales batting average should dip even more and it would not surprise many if he got designated for assignment before the end of the 2018 season.
I personally think the team will do better than last year but with many aging players on the team and young players who still need time to progress, I don’t see them overtaking the Yankees or Red Sox in the ultra-competitive A.L. East.
Realistically, if all things go well, they have a shot at an A.L Wild Card Spot.
Team Record Prediction: 85-77
Team CY Young: Marcus Stroman
This is an obvious one as Stroman is really the only pitcher in the entire rotation that you could call great. Stroman will have another strong season earning him the team “CY Young”
Team MVP: Josh Donaldson
Donaldson had the best year at the plate for the Blue Jays in 2017. Look for this to continue in 2018 and for his great fielding skills to show as he leads his team as the “Team MVP!”
–Adrian Andrew is the Managing Editor of Full Press Coverage Ravens. Feel free to continue the discussion with him on his Twitter Page, and make sure to follow us on Twitter @FPC_Ravens and like our page on Facebook!