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Toronto Blue Jays

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Projected WARMarket Value

23.6 212


13.5 122


3.2 29


Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

  • Curtis Granderson, LF
  • Devon Travis, 2B
  • Josh Donaldson, 3B
  • Justin Smoak, 1B
  • Russell Martin, C
  • Kendrys Morales, DH
  • Randal Grichuk, RF
  • Kevin Pillar, CF
  • Aledmys Diaz, SS
  • J.A. Happ, LHP
  • Aaron Sanchez, RHP
  • Marco Estrada, RHP
  • Marcus Stroman, RHP
  • Jaime Garcia, LHP
  • John Gibbons

Health Check

“If this is a health check, the patient looks healthy. This year’s team looks better than last year’s team. The Blue Jays look like a team who could compete for the playoffs. Looking to the future, they aren’t carrying a lot of contracts; they have financial flexibility. They have a good number of young players who could be the nucleus of a contending team. Added in, they have several very good prospects, some who could be middle of the order impact bats — like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette — and there’s more where they came from.

The Blue Jays problem is that they are in the AL East, and the Red Sox and Yankees are the 600-pound gorillas in their way. In the near term, Toronto faces an uphill battle against those teams, but there is reason to hope in the future.”

— Bluebird Banter

Key Player

In 2016, Aaron Sanchez had the best ERA in the AL, at 3.00. He made 30 starts, for the first time in the majors, or the minors for that matter (his season high for start in the minors was 20). And he threw 192 innings. We were looking forward to a repeat performance in 2016. It didn’t happen. Blisters (and remedies for blisters) had him on the DL for most of the season. He would only make 8 starts.

In 2016 the Jays had excellent luck with the health of the starting rotation, only 7 pitchers made starts for the team. Sanchez, Stroman, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and R.A. Dickey combined to make 152 starts. Add in 8 starts from trade deadline pickup Francisco Liriano and they only had 2 ‘spot starts’ all year.

Last year we used 14 starting pitchers and only Stroman and Estrada made more than 30 starts.

A healthy Sanchez, teamed with Marcus Stroman, would give the Jays one of the best 1-2 combinations, at the top of the rotation, in the AL. A rotation of Stroman, Sanchez, Happ, Estrada and Jaime Garcia looks to be pretty good, if they can stay healthy.

Sanchez has looked good this spring (so far), but every eye will be watching every pitch, this spring, to see if he shows any sign of blisters. And, of course, the worry won’t end there. I’m sure we’ll be carefully watch every start he makes this season.

The front office has worked to improve the pitching depth for this season, but they very much need to get keep their two best starters healthy and pitching this year, if they want to compete for a playoff spot this year. If Sanchez misses most of the season again, it is hard to imagine the team staying in the race this year.

—Tom Dakers, Bluebird Banter

Best Case

The Blue Jays were mostly forgotten about this offseason while the Yankees and Red Sox added and added, but they made some moves that could keep them right in the thick of things, at the least in the AL Wild Card picture. If Curtis Granderson looks more like his Mets persona than his Dodgers one, the Jays’ lineup is going to look better. If Jaime Garcia keeps on pitching well at the same time Aaron Sanchez can rebound, the Jays’ rotation is a potential force — those two plus Marcus Stroman, who quietly posted a 3.09 ERA and crossed the 200-inning threshold in 2017, and J.A. Happ, who is looking to go three-for-three on strong Toronto campaigns, is a threat to anyone in the division.

Worst Case

Some best-case “ifs” you’ll see in this preview are pretty likely events. Others are things like “Curtis Granderson won’t look completely lost after spending months appearing as if he was done” and “Aaron Sanchez will be healthy and awesome” even though he’s only been both of those things at the same time once before. The Blue Jays don’t necessarily have an impossible task ahead of them — they’re likely better than last year and made some real improvements while also addition-by-subtractioning Francisco Liriano and Jose Bautista. But, in a division that now has two loaded teams in the Red Sox and Yankees, Toronto’s margin for error has shrunk even further: they can’t afford to have things go wrong as they did at the start of 2017, when they quickly entered “teams with this kind of April have never made the postseason” territory.