Legit or Quit? - Toronto Blue Jays
A team with some incredible pieces might have what it takes to overcome the toughest MLB division
Win/Loss: 37-35, 4th in the AL East (as of 6/24/21)
AVG: .264 (2/15)
OPS: .781 (2/15)
OBP: .328 (3/15)
SLG: .453 (1/15)
ERA: 4.01 (6/15)
Other notable stats:
1st in AL in Homeruns
2nd in AL in Hits
2nd in AL in Total Bases
Trending Up: Teoscar Hernandez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Marcus Semien
Trending Down: George Springer, Robbie Ray, Trent Thorton, Cavan Biggio
The Blue Jays have been a shining example of solid management practices and player development this season. Aside from the inability to play in their home stadium for the foreseeable future, there are few flaws with this team. The bats have been on fire at most spots in the order and fielding has gained some strength thanks to some shifting.
Will Toronto's strengths be able to overcome their underperforming pitching staff, sidelined pieces, as well as the toughest division in baseball? We will be answering all this and more today in Legit or Quit!
From Toronto to Florida: These Guys Can Rake Wherever
As far as raw young talent goes, the Blue Jays are mostly unrivaled. Not only has the continued emergence of this young core been an absolute treat to watch, but realistically there is enough power here to compete with some of the most fearsome teams in the American League.
This piece wouldn't be anything without mentioning Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and his continued dominance. Similar to his father, Vladdy can hit anything and everything that comes his way but with a bit more pop than his old man had. He currently sits in the top 5% of the league in Weighted On Base Average, Hard Hit %, Exit Velo., and Expected Batting Average. Simply put, the dude absolutely mashes. With this impressive hitting clinic has also come a much-needed increase to his fielding powers since switching from 3rd to 1st base. Vladdy has proven that he is one of the brightest stars on the horizon and will likely seek to defend his HR Derby title this upcoming July.
It is not as if Valddy has been alone this season in producing absurd numbers at the plate. For one, Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio have continued to prove themselves as spark plugs for this offense when it is needed. Bichette especially has proved any and all doubters as to whether he belongs in this league and is one of the league's brightest young shortstops. Teoscar Hernandez has provided incredible consistency from the outfield and achieved household name status this season. George Springer, when healthy, has been a nice offseason pickup. However, his contributions only come when the man is healthy which News Flash: He hasn't been.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Blue Jays has been the outstanding Marcus Semien. He led all players in Wins Above Replacement for the month of May and has not shown any signs of stopping. He still sits in the top 10% of WOBA and is batting close to .300. Hopefully, this production continues for the kid as I do not think this team would have survived the past few months without him.
Blown Leads and Tough Opponents
Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, they just so happen to play in one of the most grueling divisions this and most seasons. Having to face not only Boston and Tampa, but also a hot/cold Yankees team, has landed them towards the bottom of their division even with a pretty solid record. In order to jump to even a wild card spot the Jays need to continue their production throughout the rest of the season, barring any injuries and setbacks.
The Jays also have one of the worst win percentages when leading before the 7th inning. This could be due to their lackluster bullpen or even pitching in general but whatever the case, they sometimes have an inability to close out big games when needed. Maybe it just so happens to be the Tommy Milone curse the Braves dealt with last season (I'm all too familiar).
My hopes would be that management decides to bolster their relief at the trade deadline, but with revenues down due to their displacement by the Canadian government, I don't see maybe more than 1 large pickup in the future. In any case, this team needs to find a way to perform against tougher opponents and resist playing down to their lesser competition.
The Jays have the talent to make a playoff push but seemingly lack the resolve to do so. Their intense hitting core cannot shoulder the burden of their flaws and ultimately I feel as if it will come to haunt them. I have high hopes for the Jays for the remainder of this season, but unfortunately, I cannot place enough faith in them to make it far in the playoffs, much less make them in general. That's why with a heavy heart I have to say that for this season, the Blue Jays are a...
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