A look at some of the takeaways from the Toronto Blue Jays 2019 season that concluded yesterday following a series win versus the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Blue Jays finished the campaign in the fourth place in the American League East with a lackluster 67-95 record, good for a .414 winning percentage. The Jays secured the fifth overall selection in the 2020 amateur draft thanks in part to their minus 102 run differential.
On a positive note, they did avoid the 100 loss plateau which appeared like a foregone conclusion a month earlier. The team won five of their final six series down the stretch in September to end the season on a positive note.
Cavan Biggio reached base safely in 29 consecutive games to end the season and led the team with a 2.8 WAR. The only player with a higher WAR rating was Marcus Stroman who is no longer with the club. Biggio just scratched the surface of his potential but has the makings of something special.
Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. were as advertised although Vladdy did falter down the stretch as it appeared the big man ran out of gas in September. Bichette ended the season injured with a concussion but should be good to go by spring training.
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Rookie Trent Thornton had an up and down season but finished second in franchise history with 149 strikeouts. The rookie mark is held by Mark Eichhorn who fanned 166 in 1986. Thornton did manage to lower his earned run average under 5.00 in his final start. He should be in the conversation for a spot at the backend of the rotation next season.
The Jays will in all likelihood have Matt Shoemaker back and a healthy Ryan Borucki in 2020. Anthony Kay definitely will get a long look in spring training as Nate Pearson is slotted to begin the season in Triple-A until his service time is no longer an issue.
Reese Mcguire was one of the biggest surprises of 2019 following his call-up at the end of July. The backstop who is normally regarded as a defence fist catcher impressed with the stick at the big league level. McGuire hit .299 with five homers in 105 plate appearances and formed a promising tandem with Danny Jansen.
The outfield picture is still discombobulated with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Randal Grichuk tabbed as the only staples for 2020. The likes of Billy McKinney, Derek Fisher, and Teoscar Hernandez did little to justify their existence. Hernandez did wallop 26 homers but strikeouts 30 percent of the time and is hardly an average defender. He may be better suited for a DH role next season.
There were definitely a ton of positives in 2019 and some important puzzle pieces put in place for the future success of the organization moving forward.