With a somewhat disappointing offseason, we look at the Toronto Blue Jays projected offense for 2016 to see if there is reason for optimism.
If you’re like me, you’ve been pretty frustrated with the Blue Jays’ winter thus far. But, whether it is the egg nog talking or a ghost of seasons past showing me the light, I’ve come to accept the notion that this team is going to compete in 2016. That notion is buoyed by the visions of home run trots dancing in my head. But, I wanted to see if I was actually dreaming. I wanted to take a look to see if 2016 is actually going to be as good as I think. If we look at the 2015 Steamer projections via Fangraphs.com, we get an idea of the season yet to come.
Toronto Blue Jays
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If you look at the totals from players projected to get 100+ at bats in 2016 and add their totals, we can get an idea of what we might reasonably expect from each team in the AL East. Now, given that it is only December and a myriad of things can still change with the rosters in the division, we should only take this exercise for what it is intended: a hypothetical look at how 2016 could go.
Included Players: Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Christian Walker, Henry Urrutia, Matt Wieters, Jonathan Schoop, L.J. Hoes, Nolan Reimold, Joey Rickard, Jimmy Paredes, Ryan Flaherty, Caleb Joseph, J.J. Hardy.
In total, this offense is projected to score 659 runs (with no one scoring more than Machado’s 93), 190 HR (Trumbo is projected to hit the most at 30), 257 doubles, 383 BB, 1208 K and a .253 average.
Obviously, if the O’s do end up bringing back Chris Davis, this lineup will be that much more potent. But, as of right now, it does not look good for them. They are looking like they’ll rely on some at bats from less than ideal hitters. If we can say 2015 was a down year for this club, then 2016 just might be more of the same.
Boston Red Sox
Included Players: Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, Travis Shaw, Chris Young, Jackie Bradley Jr, Rusney Castillo, Christian Vazquez, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, Ryan Hanigan
This offense is projected to produce 752 runs (Betts is tops with 98), 157 HR (Ortiz expected to hit 27 and 6 players in single digits), 323 doubles, 484 BB, 1028 K and a .270 average.
While many may not be convinced of the Red Sox’ might in the division, we have to remember that this is the club that is full of young talent that took big strides last season. And, if guys like Hanley and The Panda can actually chip in as expected, this offense is going to be dangerous. They are projected to score the most (slightly ahead of Toronto) runs in the division. The lineup has an interesting combination of speed and power and just might give the Blue Jays a run for their money.
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New York Yankees
Included Players: Jacoby Ellsbury, Starlin Castro, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Gregory Bird, Dustin Ackley, Aaron Hicks, Slade Heathcott
This lineup is projected to reach 695 runs (Ellsbury’s 80 are tops), 181 HR (Tex leads the way with 27), 252 doubles, 500 BB, 1131 K and an average of .255.
What can you say about the Yankees? When you look at the above list, you are instantly reminded of the age on this club. While they still possess the power (2nd most HR in the division), they look set to find themselves trailing the Sox and Jays. We shouldn’t expect the Yankees to keep hanging around like they did in 2015. No, 2016 just might be a long one in the Bronx.
Tampa Bay Rays
Included Players: Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe, Kevin Kiermaier, Desmond Jennings, James Loney, Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza, Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, Hank Conger, Mikie Mahtook, Curt Casali, Tim Beckham, Nick Franklin
The Rays offense is prjected to total 637 runs (Longoria’s 76 is tops), 149 HR (again, Longoria is tops with 24 and 6 players in single digits), 278 doubles, 458 BB, 1175 K and an average of .244.
The Rays look poised to have the worst offense in the division. But, that is nothing new. What seems worrisome for this club is what would happen if Longoria is injured for any length of time. A team that relies on pitching and small ball might find themselves in tough in this division.
Toronto Blue Jays
Included Players: Josh Donaldson, Ben Revere, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Kevin Pillar, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Goins, Russell Martin, Justin Smoak, Chris Colabello, Devon Travis, Michael Saunders, Darwin Barney, Josh Thole
Your Blue Jays are projected to hit for 735 runs (Donaldson is expected to lead the pack with 95), 196 HR (EE tops the list with 34), 264 doubles, 520 BB, 1072 K and a .256 average.
Basically, this offense will rely on their power…again. It is probably what you expected. They are projected to be 1st in the division in HR, 2nd in runs scored, 3rd in doubles (behind the Rays!), 1st in walks, 2nd in strike outs and 2nd in average. Their biggest competition seems to be coming from the Red Sox. Yet, we watched this team score more runs than anyone in 2015. And, they didn’t even get a whole year out of Tulo or Revere or Travis. Perhaps, this team could surpass their projections and repeat the kind of success they had last season.
While there has been several reasons for disappointment this offseason, we have to remember that the Blue Jays are set to bring back the best offense in baseball. Though projections tend to be conservative, they look pretty good for this club. Yet, that same conservative projection must also be applied to every other team in the division. That means that the Red Sox could provide some very exciting competition for our boys in blue.
It is up to each individual reader to decide whether the above is comforting or not. Whichever it is, we’d like to hear your thoughts below.