Toronto Blue Jays prediction: Beating the projections
MLB.com released their projections yesterday, and while anything could happen with the unique 2020 season, I think the Blue Jays will surprise some folks.
I’ve been told I’m a “glass half-full” kind of guy for pretty much my whole life, and I hope that never changes. Even when it comes to my beloved Toronto Blue Jays.
The 2020 season we’re about to embark on will be unlike any other, and you can throw a lot of conventional expectations out the window. That said, a few months ago I wrote about how I believed the Blue Jays could and should shoot for a .500 record this year, and I still believe that’s the kind of goal they should be trying to reach at this stage of the rebuild. It’s an aggressive goal for a team that finished 67-95 last year, but a lot has changed since then.
According to MLB.com, they don’t see the Blue Jays quite reaching the .500 mark this year, at least according to the projections they released on Thursday. They have the Blue Jays pegged for a record of 27-33 for the shortened season, which would put them in fourth place among their AL East division rivals. Of course, this season is a little different, as they’ll have to share a division with the NL East as well, which won’t necessarily help the Blue Jays’ cause.
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On one hand, it’s probably a pretty fair projection for this young and emerging team, especially given the competition. MLB.com sees the potential for five playoff contenders in this new super-division between the Yankees with 34 wins, and then the Rays, Nationals, Mets, and Atlanta with 33 wins. In addition, they have the Red Sox remaining competitive with 31 wins, and the Phillies with a .500 record with 30 victories.
In my mind, the competition is the biggest hurdle for the Blue Jays this year. I realize that’s an incredibly simple statement to make (you don’t say?), and it’s exacerbated by the fact that they’ll only play against teams within their own division instead of spreading it out more as they would with a typical calendar. However, a lot can change over the next few months between injuries, positive Covid-19 tests, opt-outs, and whatever else 2020 decides to throw our way, so it shouldn’t be thought of as an excuse or an insurmountable feat.
There are a lot of upsides for the Blue Jays right now, even if it’ll likely be another important year of growth for the talented young core. Their rotation is vastly improved from a year ago, and could even turn into a strength for Charlie Montoyo‘s roster with the quality depth they’ve put together. Then there’s the unknown of just how well these kids may perform in 2020, and in my mind the sky is the limit. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will no longer have to focus so much attention on his duties at third base and that could serve him very well. The same goes for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. as he continues to adjust to left field, and I can’t wait to see what Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio do in their sophomore seasons, even if it’s a shorter one.
I don’t have any sophisticated data to point toward to make my argument, but I do think the Blue Jays have the potential to exceed expectations this season. There are always plenty of “ifs” that could make or break a season, but as the Blue Jays enter the 2020 campaign, it doesn’t seem all that hard to picture things starting to fall into place. That might not mean a post-season spot just yet, but I think this franchise is moving in the right direction and I look forward to watching them prove it.