Toronto Blue Jays 2021 Season Preview
Since their back-to-back championship seasons in 1992 and 1993, the Red Sox have not reached the playoffs. In fact, they have only made the playoffs three times. Those three all took place from 2015-2020.
The Blue Jays hired Charlie Montoyo as their manager before the 2019 season. In 2019, the Jays finished in fourth place in the AL East, in 2020 third, and at this pace, they will be in second in 2021.
Potential Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day Lineup
- George Springer (CF – R)
- Bo Bichette (SS – R)
- Marcus Semien (2B – R)
- Teoscar Hernandez (RF – R)
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B – R)
- Cavan Biggio (3B – L)
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (LF – R)
- Rowdy Tellez (DH – L)
- Danny Jansen (C – R)
Starting Pitcher Rotation:
The bullpen: Kirby Yates (RHP), Jordan Romano (RHP), Rafael Dolis (RHP), Tyler Chatwood (RHP), Ryan Borucki (LHP), David Phelps (RHP), Julian Merryweather (RHP), Anthony Kay (LHP), Trent Thornton(RHP)
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Hyun Jin Ryu aces the Jays’ pitching staff. Ryu, who signed a four-year, $80 million deal before the 2020 season, finished third in Cy Young voting and even received a vote for the AL MVP. Ryu has had three consecutive seasons with an ERA below 2.70 and will try to extend that streak in 2021.
The remaining four starters are the weakest part of the Blue Jays team. fangraphs.com projects that no one in the bottom four of the rotation will have an ERA of less than 4.23.
Toronto’s bullpen is the second weakness for the Jays but is stronger. only three out of the nine relievers will be playing for Toronto for the first time. They signed Kirby Yates, Tyler Chatwood, and David Phelps to strengthen the bullpen.
Toronto’s biggest strength in the 2021 season is their batting. The Blue Jays’ core has not changed much from 2020. There are only two players in the lineup that are new to Toronto. However, they are two big parts of the lineup: George Springer and Marcus Semien.
The new addition to the 2021 outfield is George Springer. He signed with the Blue Jays in January. The 31-year-old center fielder will likely be the leadoff man in the lineup. Springer’s controversial history in Houston (cheating scandal). In 2020 he batted just .265 with 14 homers.
Out in left, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. paved the way for the Blue Jays’ success in 2020 with a .308 batting average and 11 home runs. Teoscar Hernandez was also with Toronto in 2020. his batting average was .289, and he slugged 16 homers.
The Jays’ infield remains the strongest part of their team. Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette hold down the left side of the infield. They each have been in the Blue Jays organization since they were drafted and in 2020 had batting averages of .250and .301 respectively. They also each had 13 homers between the two of them in the shortened 2020 season. Their performance on the field is crucial to how far the Blue Jays can go in 2021.
On the right side of the infield and at catcher are Marcus Semien, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Danny Jansen. In 2020, Semien batted just .223 with the Oakland Athletics and Jansen batted .183. The Jays are going to hope that throughout a normal lengthened season in 2021, they will play better and more consistently.
“Vlad” Guerrero Jr. lost a lot of weight in preparation for this season. He is Toronto’s biggest young, star. He played in all 60 games in 2020 and hit .262 with an on-base percentage of .329 and drove in 33 runs including 9 homers.
The final part of the Blue Jays lineup is the DH, Rowdy Tellez. Since arriving in the big leagues in 2018, Tellez has played a total of 169 games while hitting .250 and hitting 33 homers. He isn’t the best designated hitter in the league, but Toronto is hoping that he can return to his 2020 form where he batted .283 and had 23 RBIs in just 35 games.
A Toronto Blue Jays 2021 Preview would be incomplete without looking at their division: the AL East.
The American League East division is not very strong coming into 2021. The Rays have lost starting pitcher Blake Snell. The Baltimore Orioles finished 2020 with a 25-35 record and show few signs of improving. The Red Sox have declined each year since their World Series Championship in 2018.
The biggest threat in the AL East is the New York Yankees. The Yankees strengthened their starting pitchers this offseason. They also re-signed DJ LeMahieu. The most important thing for the Yankees is to keep their players healthy.
Due to Canada and Ontario’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Blue Jays will not be able to play their home games in Toronto. In 2020 they played in Buffalo, but with the AAA season resuming in 2021, it is unclear where they will be playing.
With the combination of a mostly week division, developing stars, and strong hitting, I think the Blue Jays will win more than 86.5 games. The biggest concern is the starting pitching rotation, but if the Jays can make a trade for a decent starter, their troubles may start to wane.
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