Blue Jays: How much the story can change in just 60 games
What’s worked out as we expected
For all of the surprises this year, there have been a few players on the roster that have delivered pretty much what we should expect.
The first name that comes to mind is Hyun Jin Ryu, who once again has provided an ace calibre performance to the top of the Blue Jays’ rotation. He took an unfortunate loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night, but had it not been for a misplay by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the first inning then he may not have given up a run at all during the outing. Even with the loss last night he’s still 5-4 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP across 12 starts, covering 70.0 innings. He’s been worth every penny of the 4-year, 80 million dollar contract he signed before last season.
As far as delivering what we would have expected, the next name that comes to mind for me is Bo Bichette, who is quietly having another solid season at just 23 years old. He’s now played roughly the equivalent of one full year in the big leagues, and he’s only going to continue to get better as he gains more experience. Even with a few hiccups in 2021, he’s slashing .269/.318/.465 with 11 home runs, 13 doubles, 34 RBI and seven stolen bases, good for 2.1 bWAR thus far. I don’t think we’ve witnessed Bichette getting truly locked in yet, and even at that he’s still been one of the better shortstops in baseball over 60 games.
To round out the “what we expected” section I would point to a few of the bullpen arms that showed significant promise in 2020 and have carried it over to this year. Jordan Romano continues to emerge as a late-inning option with a 1.74 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP over 20.2 innings, and Rafael Dolis hasn’t changed as a “hit and miss” presence in the bullpen, where he dominates one night and then gets hit around the next. It’s a major bummer that this bullpen group is still missing Julian Merryweather and has also lost Kirby Yates and David Phelps for the remainder of the year, as it could have amounted to a true asset for Charlie Montoyo.