With the reports that Jonathan Davis has been told he’ll start the season with the MLB club, it’s looking more likely that George Springer won’t be ready in time for Opening Day after suffering a Grade 2 oblique strain.
Assuming that’s the case then the Blue Jays will have to wait a while before they can put their best offering down on Charlie Montoyo’s lineup card. In the meantime, they’re fortunate to have all kinds of other firepower they can use to hold down the fort until their 3x All-Star can return to the field. In fact, I thought it might be fun to predict how Montoyo will line up his hitters in the event that Springer needs an extra week or two before he can join them.
Because the Blue Jays still have last season’s centre fielder kicking around in Randal Grichuk, it’s fairly easy to slot him in as the replacement up the middle for now, likely with an occasional start for Davis as well.
However, it’s the batting lineup that I’m probably more interested in, and here’s how I think they’ll line things up most nights.
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1- Cavan Biggio (3B)
2- Bo Bichette (SS)
3- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B)
4- Teoscar Hernandez (RF)
5- Marcus Semien (2B)
6- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (LF)
7- Rowdy Tellez (DH)
8- Randal Grichuk (CF)
9- Danny Jansen (C)
My assumption is that Springer would start the season as the leadoff hitter if he were were/is available, but for now the Jays have a more than capable replacement in Biggio. He’s not the same calibre of hitter overall, but he brings power, speed, and most importantly, a strong on-base percentage. Bichette looks strong and ready to join the top hitters in the American League, and if Vlad Jr. isn’t careful after his offseason transformation, he might join him.
As far as offence goes, it’s a bit of an embarrassment of riches, even if the lineup looks a lot like last year’s. They were third in the AL in runs per game as a group in 2020, and that was before they signed Springer, and also Marcus Semien. And speaking of Semien, it’s entirely possible that Montoyo prefers to place him higher in the lineup, and there’s an argument to be made for that. He hasn’t exactly tore it up at the plate this spring with a .217/.308/.457 slash line over 46 at-bats, but his third place finish in AL MVP voting in 2019 says he’s a pretty good hitter.
Depending on what they decide this weekend between keeping Alejandro Kirk or Reese McGuire as the back-up catcher, that could factor into some batting order decisions as well. Jansen is a pretty clear #9 hitter among the rest, but a hot-hitting Kirk could push his way up a bit. It’ll be hard to overtake the rest of the lineup and move too much, but the stocky catcher knows how to handle a bat, and is definitely another asset for the offence if he makes the team.
I’m hopeful that it won’t be long before Springer can join his teammates and really make push this lineup from good to great, but for now the Jays should be able to find a fair bit of offence.