Toronto Blue Jays Last Season Performance
The Toronto Blue Jays were the best team of 2021 that did not make the postseason. Their record of 91-71 saw them finish one game behind the Red Sox and Yankees for the first and second Wild Card spots. Nonetheless, it was a terrific season in Toronto.
The Jays’ elite young core was led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who likely would have won the MVP in almost any other season. But he finished second in MVP voting behind the pitcher/hitter phenom Shohei Ohtani in 2021.
Guerrero Jr. ended the campaign with a jaw-dropping .311/.401/.601 and a 1.002 OPS. Guerrero finished tied for the league lead in home runs with 48 and added 111 RBI’s. It was unquestionably a fantastic season for the budding superstar.
Other players who contributed to Toronto’s amazing offensive performance included Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette, and George Springer. Semien blasted 45 home runs while Bichette hit .298 with 29 bombs.
The Blue Jays ended 2021 ranked first in home runs, second in team batting average, second in hits, second in RBI’s, first in total bases, first in slugging percentage, and first in OPS. This was arguably baseball’s most productive offense in 2021.
And the pitching was solid as well. In fact, the starting rotation featured the A.L. Cy Young award winner in left-hander Robbie Ray. Ray compiled a 13-7 record to go along with a 2.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 248 strikeouts throughout 193.1 innings pitched.
Right-hander Alek Manoah made the most of his first opportunity in the big leagues with a 3.22 ERA. The Blue Jays acquired Jose Berrios from the Twins in July, and he was productive with a 3.58 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 12 games for Toronto.
And as aforementioned, this roster would have been postseason-worthy in almost any other season. But the Blue Jays finished in fourth place in the American League Central. For reference, their 91-71 record would have placed them in first place in the National League East in 2021.
Toronto will look to improve just enough to guarantee themselves a playoff spot in 2022.
Toronto Blue Jays Off Season Changes
The most exciting news coming out of Toronto during the off-season is their reported interest in Freddie Freeman. Despite having Guerrero operating first base, the Jays have been linked to the free agent first baseman. But with the MLB lockout still going on, it could be a while before Freeman, or any other free agent for that matter, can sign with any team.
Toronto is also interested in bringing in a new third baseman. Cavan Biggio is expected to be implemented in a utility role in 2022, as Toronto wants to bring in an everyday third baseman. Kris Bryant could certainly be the answer for the Blue Jays.
Bryant makes sense since the team has shown an interest in pairing veterans with their youthful core.
The Blue Jays made up for losing Ray in free agency by signing former Giants ace Kevin Gausman a five-year contract. The right-hander was brilliant during the first half of 2021, and despite running into some struggles in the second portion of the season, there is no question that he is still one of the most talented pitchers in the game.
Toronto’s main goal during the offseason was to improve just enough to reach the playoffs in 2022. So far, they are on the right track, but they have some more work to do once the lockout comes to an end.
Toronto Blue Jays Key Additions
The main addition during the offseason has been Gausman. Gausman was selected to the first All-Star team in 2021 and was arguably the best pitcher in baseball during the first half of the season, not named Jacob DeGrom. He ended the year with a 2.81 ERA and 227 strikeouts throughout 192 innings pitched.
The switch from Northern California to Toronto is big, but Gausman should continue his success in the American League. His signing is even more vital to the team’s success because they lost reigning A.L. Cy Young award winner Robbie Ray in free agency.
The Blue Jays acquired Berrios in July of 2021. But the questions regarding his future in Toronto were answered this offseason as the Jays signed him to a seven-year extension. He is another arm that will be crucial for Toronto this season and in the foreseeable future.
The final noteworthy addition for Toronto during the 2021-2022 offseason up to this point is relief pitcher Yimi Garcia. Garcia was dealt from Miami to Houston in the middle of the 2021 campaign and is a valuable asset to any bullpen despite laboring with the Astros.
The Blue Jays are hopeful he can replicate his success with the Marlins in 2022 in Toronto.
Toronto Blue Jays Key Subtractions
The Blue Jays have already lost two prominent stars during the offseason. Ray signed with the Seattle Mariners, and Semien inked a contract in Texas with the Rangers. With both players heading out West, the Jays had some holes to fill on their roster.
They made up for the departure of Ray by adding Gausman to the rotation. But the team will be in the mix for another infielder once the lockout comes to an end. However, replacing a 40-plus home run hitting second baseman will undoubtedly be a daunting task.
Relief pitcher Kirby Yates technically was a part of the Blue Jays roster last year despite not throwing a single pitch for the team in 2021. The former star Padres closer, who had 41 saves in San Diego back in 2019, missed the entire 2021 campaign due to injury and left the Blue Jays in free agency during the offseason.
The Blue Jays will likely seek relief help as well once the lockout comes to an end.
A couple of outfielders in Corey Dickerson and Jarrod Dyson entered free agency as well. While neither players will make or break a team, both are valuable depth pieces on a roster.
The Blue Jays will be contenders in 2022, but they have lost some significant pieces so far during the offseason.
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Toronto Blue Jays Coach Analysis
When manager Charlie Montoyo was signed back in 2019, he was given the task of guiding the Blue Jays up-and-coming roster. The Blue Jays struggled in 2019, which was expected since they were in the final stages of a rebuild.
But Montoyo guided the team to a solid 32-28 record during the shortened 2020 campaign, which was this young core’s first taste of success. The team also made their first postseason appearances with the core of Guerrero Jr. and Bichette leading the charge but ultimately lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Montoyo led Toronto to an even better season in 2021, even though they ultimately missed the playoffs. Montoyo has done a tremendous job of captaining the ship in Toronto, and one would figure he has plenty of job security.
He will look to lead the Jays back to the postseason in 2022.
Toronto Blue Jays Injured Players at the beginning of the season
The only real injury concern heading into 2022 revolves around RHP and top prospect Nate Pearson. Pearson went 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 games with the Blue Jays in 2021. But injuries ultimately forced him out of the starting rotation.
The 6’6 250 pound right-hander was a first-round pick by the Blue Jays during the 2017 MLB Draft. Many scouts predicted Pearson would be a hard-throwing superstar in the majors once he developed his control in the minor leagues. But he has dealt with numerous injuries since joining the Blue Jay’s organization.
Toronto is hopeful that he can enjoy a healthy 2022 campaign, as Pearson could potentially become a breakout star in the starting rotation.
Toronto Blue Jays Prediction for 2022 Season
Can the Blue Jays overcome baseball’s deepest division and make the playoffs in 2022?
With Gausman, Berrios, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Manoah at the helm of the rotation, the Blue Jays will not only be in the race for the Wild Card, but this team could potentially be in the conversation for best team in baseball.
The offense is impressive at nearly every position. Guerrero Jr is one of the best first basemen in baseball, and Bichette is a superstar shortstop.
The outfield consists of stars such as Springer and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Even Randal Grichuk is a quality outfielder with defensive prowess and sneaky power at the plate.
Teoscar Hernandez can also play some outfield but is also productive as a designated hitter. Biggio is expected to be a utility man who mainly plays second base. The Blue Jays have options at catcher with Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen, and Reese McGuire all in the fold.
The Blue Jays lineup is already amongst the best in baseball, and they don’t even have a true third baseman. It will be scary to think about what this lineup will look like if they sign somebody like Bryant to man the hot corner.
The Blue Jays bullpen is underrated. Jordan Romano is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher who could take over closer duties in Toronto. Yimi Garcia, Julian Mayweather, and Tim Mayza help round out a solid Toronto bullpen. Adding two or three more quality relief pitchers could push this bullpen into the conversation for best in baseball as well.
My bold prediction is that the Toronto Blue Jays will make the postseason in 2022 MLB Odds. Their ceiling is earning the best record in the American League, while their floor is third place in the A.L. East. It would be hard to imagine this club falling to the fourth spot in the division once again.
Toronto Blue Jays Final Thoughts
The Blue Jays offense will be good enough to propel them to the top of the standings. But can the bullpen and starting rotation hold up their end of the bargain?
I believe this rotation is deeper than people think and should be amongst baseball’s best in 2022. Gausman, Berrios, Ryu, and Manoah make up a solid top four, but arms like Pearson and Ross Stripling could make the rotation even more lethal this season.
I would like to see the Jays add one or two more relievers to the bullpen.
They have some impressive arms out there, but it is rather thin. One or two injuries could lead to some turmoil. But signing some reliable veteran relievers could add much-needed stability to the Jays bullpen.
With everything that has been said, there is one thing that I can leave for you, which is a solid guarantee. The Toronto Blue Jays will be one of the most exciting teams to watch in 2022 MLB Lines. Be sure to tune in and catch as many Blue Jays games as possible.
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