The MLB network released their top 100 rankings, and the Blue Jays had six players on the list. What can we take away from these rankings?
A lot of things really, but let’s start with how promising the Jays lineup is looking this year, which led to there being six players on the list. It starts with the 150 million dollar man in George Springer at #20, and is followed by last winter’s big prize in Hyun Jin Ryu at #39. Bo Bichette received high praise for a young man with just 75 MLB games under his belt, and he’s ranked at #57.
From there it’s great to see the baseball world waking up to the value of Cavan Biggio, as he’s rated at #71 in a bit of a pleasant surprise. After that comes Marcus Semien at #73, and the list is rounded out by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. at #83. Even if you’d like to see more than one pitcher on the list, it’s a great sign to see six Blue Jays rated in the top 100 on this list.
There’s also the fact that one star from last season should have been included, as Teoscar Hernandez was arguably the Blue Jays’ most dangerous weapon in 2020 when he hit .289/.340/.579 with 16 home runs in just 190 at-bats. The 28 year old won a Silver Slugger award, and even finished 11th in AL MVP voting. Assuming his breakout is real, and I’m confident that it is, he’ll most definitely find a place on this list the next time they draw one up.
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And then there’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who was nowhere to be found among the Top 100. Honestly, that shouldn’t be the least bit surprising given what we saw from him in 2020 when he was a below-average defender at first base, and didn’t exactly make up for it at the plate. I assume the list is based on what happened last season as well as projections going forward, and as much as I love the Canadian-born slugger, he doesn’t deserve a spot among the top 100 right now.
That said, I’m sure that by now you’ve heard about his physical transformation over the last six months or so, resulting in more than 40 pounds lost from his burly frame, and with that, a ton of optimism about his future. I’ve actually gone as far as saying I think Vlad Jr. could and will be the Blue Jays most potent bat in the lineup in 2021, but he’s got a lot of work to do to prove me right. Assuming he even comes close, you’re now talking about seven Blue Jay hitters that belong on a Top 100 player list for all of baseball. That’s downright frightening.
What the MLB Top 100 list also reveals about the Blue Jays
On another note, it really struck me that Biggio was so high on the list, and obviously has passed Vlad Jr. in the eyes of the MLB network. That’s due at least in part to his defensive flexibility, which has already proven it’s value to the Blue Jays, but I guess I thought his talent was a better kept secret than it is.
Lastly, as exciting as it is to have six players on the list, and 1-2 more either should be or will join it soon, the major weakness becomes a little more obvious. The Blue Jays need another high calibre starting pitcher if they’re going to be true World Series contenders. They have some extremely talented homegrown candidates like Nate Pearson, Simeon Woods Richardson, Alek Manoah and more, but it’s probably asking a lot to expect that kind of production from Pearson in 2021, let alone the other two who have yet to reach the big leagues yet. This team is going to out-slug their competition with regularity, but it remains to be seen how far that will carry them.
Either way, it’s certainly a great spot to start a new season, and reminds Blue Jays fans of the potential of the season ahead. It’s always nice to have something exciting to look forward to.