Well, we beat the Yankees during our first outing at the baseball diamond, so we might as well plan the parade, right? We’re excited about this year’s Blue Jays and here’s why.
The Stats Say We’re Looking Good
If you take a look at Fangraphs, you’ll see they have Toronto finishing 88-72. That would put us in a position for one of the wild card slots. Sports Illustrated has the Jays doing even better, finishing us with 91-71, second in the American League East. Granted, they have us behind the Yankees (who, we’ve already established, will fall apart and go down in flames), but that’s still pretty good news.
Excellent Pitching Prospects on Deck
First up, you have Alek Manoah. This 23-year-old has an upper 90s fastball, a low 90s cut fastball, and a slider. Oh, and he’s 6’7” and more than 250 pounds, so he’s built more like a line-backer than a pitcher. Imagine this guy staring you down from the mound.
Next, there’s Simeon Woods Richardson. This Texas native has a reputation for hard work and efficient pitching. In fact, he sometimes takes only 15 seconds between deliveries. Not only that, but this guy can throw a fastball with 98% spin efficiency.
Granted, both of these right-handers could use a little more seasoning before hitting the majors. The minor league season was cut short thanks to COVID-19, so these guys missed out on a lot of game time. That said, we could definitely see them by the summer.
Top Shortstop Prospects
The other two Blue Jay prospects attracting attention are Jordan Groshans and Austin Martin, of Texas and Florida, respectively. Both are considered top prospects, although, as with Manoah and Richardson, they’ve missed out on development time in the minors. That said, they could very easily be called up this year.
If you missed out on the first game of the season, first of all: what the heck? Second: you missed an amazing performance from Julian Merryweather. Watch him here, striking out the side and sending Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres packing. See you later, Yankees.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
This guy is 22 and hit 15 home runs in 2019, the last normal year of baseball. Now that we’re back to a full-ish schedule and Guerrero Jr. is coming into his own, expect him to beat that and get somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 home runs. Remember, in 2019 he hit the ball with the second-highest exit velocity of anyone in the league.