Lourdes Gurriel Jr

Blue Jays: Results are in, and the Jays’ outfield was quite good

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his two run home run with Randal Grichuk #15 during the home half of the third inning at Sahlen Field on September 27, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. Gurriel Jr's home run gave the Blue Jays 4-1 lead over the visiting Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his two run home run with Randal Grichuk #15 during the home half of the third inning at Sahlen Field on September 27, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. Gurriel Jr's home run gave the Blue Jays 4-1 lead over the visiting Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images) /
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There was a lot of talk last winter about the need to upgrade the outfield, but the Blue Jays’ starting trio had quite the 2020 season and may have put that idea to rest.

There were a lot of pleasant surprises for the Toronto Blue Jays this year, and they helped add up to a 32-28 record and a spot in the post-season that begins for them on Tuesday.

It’s truly been a team effort over the course of the 60-game sprint that made for the regular season schedule, with solid contributions coming almost across the board. That said, one particular area of the team outperformed expectations in a big way, and that came after a winter where we talked a lot about the need for an upgrade. These days, the starting trio of Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Randal Grichuk may have put that topic to rest for a while.

Each of them were a bit streaky at times, but that also resulted in the offence being able to ride some very hot bats, mostly at different times. However, as great as those hot streaks were, the overall numbers stand out even more to me. Granted, the sample size is smaller with just 60 games as opposed to 162, but that doesn’t take away from the positive strides we’ve witnessed in 2020. As for the numbers, have a look for yourself.

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Teoscar Hernandez
.289/.340/.579, 16 HR, 34 RBI, 1.3 bWAR in 190 at-bats and 50 games played.

It was a breakout season for Hernandez, and we owe it all to him not being allowed to play with sunflower seeds anymore. All kidding aside, Hernandez was one of the most dangerous hitters in the American League this year. He also managed to spend just the minimum time on the Injured List with an oblique injury, which was a pleasant surprise for what’s often a nagging issue. Thankfully he’s managed to stay healthy, and he’s continued to be a threat in the middle of the lineup.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
.308/.348/.534, 11 HR, 14 doubles, 33 RBI, 1.0 bWAR in 208 at-bats and 57 games played.

Gurriel Jr. has been on an absolute tear of late, and he even managed to push his batting average above .300 on the final day of the regular season. He’s shown some solid improvement again this year as an outfielder, and his throwing arm continues to be a serious asset for keeping baserunners in check. He also managed to stay healthy, which was an important win for the oft-injured slugger.

He may have been a little streaky at times in 2020, but fortunately he’s hot at the right time as the playoffs begin later this week.

Randal Grichuk
.273/.312/.481, 12 HR, 9 doubles, 35 RBI, 0.1 bWAR in 216 at-bats and 55 games played.

Speaking of streaky, there may be no better example on the Blue Jays’ roster. I’ll admit that he also doesn’t quite live up to the level of the other two, but I think we should be satisfied with Grichuk’s production for the most part. He still needs to improve his on-base percentage and hopefully develop more consistency to avoid the cold spells at the plate, but he was a capable defender in centre, and had his moments where he carried the offence as well.

With Jonathan Davis showing off his skill set, and the possibility that the Blue Jays may give Derek Fisher one more chance next season, the Blue Jays might enter the winter feeling pretty good about the outfield they have in place right now, especially with others like Cavan Biggio also able to shift out there when needed. All three of Hernandez (free agent in 2024), Gurriel Jr. (free agent in 2025), and Grichuk (free agent in 2024) are still comfortably under contract for a while too.

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It’s a nice place to be for Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays front office, who’ve had to talk about the outfield for a long time. Thankfully their patience has paid off with the trio of talented outfielders, and hopefully the success can carry over into the playoffs as well.

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