The Blue Jays were one of the more active teams in baseball this offseason. Rumored to be interested in virtually every high-profile player on the free agent or trade markets, Toronto eventually made a handful of key additions, none bigger than George Springer. The former Astros star was followed by Marcus Semien, who rounds out a potentially star-studded infield of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. An outfield of Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Teoscar Hernández has the potential to be similarly impressive, at least offensively.
Toronto was also active in adding to the pitching staff, but there’s a lot less certainty in that area. The Jays brought back Robbie Ray and acquired Steven Matz in a trade with the Mets. Those players are coming off down years, though, as are fellow projected rotation members Tanner Roark and Ross Stripling. Only Hyun-jin Ryu looks like a sure bet to provide quality production as a starter.
It’s something of a similar story in the bullpen. Kirby Yates, Tyler Chatwood and David Phelps bring varying degrees of upside as offseason acquisitions. However, due to either injury or poor performance, none of that trio got good results in 2020 (although in Phelps’ case, that seems to be a product of unsustainably dreadful home run luck). Is that enough to make up for a relief corps that, despite strong performances from Rafael Dolis and Jordan Romano, was well below-average by both ERA (4.71) and K% – BB% (10.7 points) in 2020?
Let’s turn to the 2021 projections. Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projects the Jays for a typical season in the 85-win range. FanGraphs’ Depth Charts system is more bullish, pegging Toronto as an 88-win team. We’ll split the difference: over or under 86.5 wins for the Blue Jays in 2021?
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