Blue Jays: Three Bold Predictions for 2020

David Corcoran
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 23: Reese McGuire #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays is greeted in the dugout after scoring in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on August 23, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. Teams are wearing special color schemed uniforms with players choosing nicknames to display for Players' Weekend. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 23: Reese McGuire #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays is greeted in the dugout after scoring in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on August 23, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. Teams are wearing special color schemed uniforms with players choosing nicknames to display for Players' Weekend. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /
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We are getting closer to the 2020 Spring Training opening up and the excitement behind Blue Jays baseball is increasing.  Toronto has never seen a crop of young high end talent come climbing through the ranks. With that being said, what are some goals and predictions for the Blue Jays this season.

Reese McGuire outshines Danny Jansen and takes over the starting role

The Blue Jays are blessed with two young major league ready catchers that took similar but different routes to the major leagues.  Danny Jansen was a 16th round pick by the Blue Jays who struggled in the minors at first, but once the franchise found a vision issue, Jansen took off.  Reese McGuire was a first round pick that the Jays acquired in a trade in 2016, that originally struggled, at times looked as if he wasn’t going to pan out and then succeeded when given an MLB opportunity.

Both catchers are well known for their ability to receive the ball and call games.  While both are above average defensively, McGuire has a better history through the minors of throwing out base runners.  Jansen is coming off his first full season in the majors where he struggled at the plate finishing the season batting just .207, but it can’t be overstated that Jansen’s main focus was developing his skills behind the plate first.  However, albeit in very limited and late season action, McGuire batted .299 over 105 plate appearances, while showing a strong ability behind the plate.

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In no way is this meant to be a Jansen or McGuire argument as the two should create a very good tandem, especially with one being a left handed bat and the other being a right handed bat.  Jansen will likely break camp with a slightly higher amount of playing time, but I feel McGuire will start to take over the majority of the catching.

Take a read of my previous look at the catching depth with the Blue Jays.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr will finish with 30+ Home Runs and 100+ RBI

With another four years left of 18 million dollars (total!), Lourdes Gurriel Jr may have the best contract in baseball.  We got a taste of Gurriel Jr. in late 2018 when he was called up and hit 11 home runs while batting .281 over 263 plate appearances.  The hype was big and fans thought the team had found a hidden gem. Then 2019 started and Gurriel Jr struggled, making a couple of errors over a dozen games and struggling to hit.  By mid April, Gurriel Jr. was batting a horrid .175 with no home runs and striking out four times as many times as he was walking.

Gurriel Jr was sent to the minors where he was moved to the outfield and tore it up before being recalled in May.  Once recalled he looked outstanding in the outfield, a position he had not played since leaving Cuba. He also showed his ability from 2018 at the plate as he batted .292 for the remainder of the season and finished with 20 home runs and 50 RBI by the end of the campaign.

Along with the early season demotion, Gurriel Jr. suffered a severe ankle injury that cost a majority of the season.  The pace Gurriel Jr. put himself on would have had him hit around 37 home runs and 100 RBI. With an extra year of maturity and strength, a full season being surrounded by the other young stars, Gurriel Jr could very well finish with All-Star numbers this year.

Santiago Espinal will start a game in centerfield with Toronto

This prediction may be a little bit of a leap and some may be wondering who Santiago Espinal is.  Espinal was the prospect the Blue Jays acquired in 2018 for Steve Pearce. Espinal started 2019 with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats where he batted .278 over 94 games before being called up to the Buffalo Bisons.  For the remainder of the season in AAA, Espinal batted .317 over 28 games. and impressed the Blue Jays so much that they added him to the 40-man roster this past off-season.

Espinal is a natural middle infielder playing a majority of the time at second base.  Although he had only played two professional games in the outfield before 2019, he suited up in 12 games this last year in New Hampshire in centre field.  The Blue Jays have arguably the weakest centre field in all of baseball, and need to start experimenting.

There is a chance that Cavan Biggio plays centerfield, but I feel he is better suited at second base.  Espinal should start the season in Buffalo and be molded into an outfielder, which could lead to him getting one game, just one game in patrolling the middle of the outfield.

Related Story. An Apology to Ross Atkins. light

Do you feel these predictions are way off?  What are some predictions you have for the Blue Jays?

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