Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays must improve team defence if they want to contend

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2019 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 7-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2019 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 7-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays first and foremost priority this offseason must be to improve their overall team defence if they plan on being contenders in 2021.

Although the Blue Jays were surprisingly in the middle of the pack in terms of errors last season, tied for the 11th most in the majors with 33. The concept of playing fundamental baseball both defensively and on the base paths was lost at times last season.

I cannot begin to count the number of missed pop-ups in foul territory that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. laid claim to in 2020. It would appear the minute the ball drifts over the white line, Vladdy gets the yips and forgets how to catch. Thankfully, his blunders rarely even touched his glove so he wasn’t awarded an error on a number of the plays.

There is a Defensive Efficiency statistic that tracks the percentage of balls in play converted into outs. The Blue Jays ranked 25th with a percentage of .681, below the league average of .693 and well below the league-leading St. Louis Cardinals who paced the majors at .731.

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If you have watched any of the postseason games involving both the Tampa Bay Rays or the Los Angeles Dodgers, it is clearly evident just how far superior they are to that of the Blue Jays defensively.

Both teams have put on defensive clinics on the nightly and it is a big reason why both teams will be facing off tomorrow night in Game One of the World Series.

Cavan Biggio actually led the team with five errors, however, that may be understandable considering the number of positions he played in 2020. Jonathan Villar and Bo Bichette each had four while five other players including Guerrero Jr. were tied with three apiece.

Toronto was a tick under the league average in terms of fielding percentage with a combined effort of .982 placing them 19th in the league.

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The positive aspect is the team is young and still learning on the fly at the major league level, you would expect the defence to improve with maturity and experience. However, it is definitely something they must improve on immediately if they want to return to the postseason in 2021.

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