Blue Jays: Assessing the AL East after the 2019 campaign

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Tyler Wade #14 of the New York Yankees slides home past Luke Maile #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays for a run in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Tyler Wade #14 of the New York Yankees slides home past Luke Maile #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays for a run in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on after striking out against the Seattle Mariners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 22, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on after striking out against the Seattle Mariners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 22, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Baltimore Orioles (54-108)

Let’s start with the Orioles, mostly because I want to give all of you Blue Jay fans out there as much reason for optimism as possible. As I said on Twitter a few times throughout 2019, “hey, at least we’re not the Orioles”.

The Blue Jays had a rough 2019 campaign, but the Orioles bested them by a long shot in pursuit of the top of next June’s draft. They finished with a record of 54-108, which means only the Detroit Tigers and their 47-114 record will pick ahead of them next June. That part is encouraging, and I’m a believer in looking for the silver lining in any situation.

Beyond that? Well, Jonathan Villar had a great comeback season in Baltimore, and Trey Mancini continued to be one of the more under-rated hitters in the American League. Hanser Alberto was surprising decent as well, but I’m already running out of positives to talk about.

The pitching staff was a total disaster once again, a problem that’s long existed for the Orioles. Dylan Bundy finally made 30 starts in a season, but his 4.79 ERA and 1.35 WHIP could use some serious improvement. John Means was really the only starter who pitched well enough to warrant saying anything positive, as he surprised with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 27 starts.

The plus side is that Baltimore’s farm system is finally improving, and is generally considered to around the middle of the pack. Adding Adley Rutschman with last year’s top pick in the draft will help down the road, but the Blue Jays are widely considered to be ahead of their rebuilding efforts at this point.

And not to rub dirt in their faces, but Chris Davis will still mark a little more than 21 million per season for another three years, with 42 million more in deferred payments. As bad as he’s been, he’s just one of the many reasons the Orioles are going to take a while before they’re ready to compete again.

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