Blue Jays: George Springer proving he was worth the money
The Toronto Blue Jays have boasted one of the strongest batting orders almost all season, with seven players already hitting double digits in the home run category and five players already past the 60 RBI mark as the season heads into the start of August.
The Blue Jays are also getting huge contributions from the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien, and Bo Bichette (among others), and it’s easy to see why the organization currently leads the league in multiple offensive categories like OPS (.787) and slugging (.459).
This past off-season, general manager Ross Atkins made pretty big headlines by signing outfielder George Springer to the most expensive contract in Blue Jays history, a six-year deal worth $150 million dollars.
Drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft to the Houston Astros, Springer spent seven seasons with the club before testing the free-agent waters, slashing .270/.361/.496 with 174 home runs, 458 RBI, and a .857 OPS through 795 games.
Since his return from the injured list in late June, George Springer has been a force in the Blue Jays batting order, with the righty-batter providing another strong bat in an already potent lineup and strong defender in center field.
With Springer, the Blue Jays get a top of the order hitter who has speed on the base paths and a bat that can not only hit across the diamond but also tag a pitch or two over the outfield wall. Throw in the fact that he features plus defense in center/right field and you can see why the Blue Jays ponied up the money for his services.
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Unfortunately for Blue Jays fans, Springer would begin the season on the injured list with an oblique injury and would miss almost the entire month of April before making his debut against the Washington Nationals on April 28th. His presence in the lineup would be short-lived as a quad injury would put him back on the IL shelf, sidelining him until his return on June 22.
Since about mid-July, Springer has been absolutely dynamite both offensively and defensively for the Blue Jays. He currently owns a .296/.380/.641 slash line on the season and has been on a tear lately, registering 15 hits in his last 29 at-bats with four home runs and 11 RBI. Last night was the pinnacle of his return, smacking four hits with three RBI and ending up a triple shy of the cycle, bringing his OPS on the season to an incredible 1.021 through 38 games.
Having Springer at the top of the lineup makes a huge difference as he adds another wrinkle that opposing batters have to deal with the likes Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Semien, and Teoscar Hernandez following him in the order. With his ability to get on base, a solo home run for Triple Crown candidate Guerrero puts extra runs on the board that can be a real difference-maker on the season, especially since the Jays have 12 games where they have lost by one run.
If the righty batter can continue to be a force on the diamond over the next two months, the Blue Jays have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs this season, with Fangraphs giving the club a 36.4% chance to make the postseason as of right now.
They will have to win a majority of their games over the next two months to catch ground in the AL East and the Wild Card, and with the Blue Jays starters throwing well and Springer providing pop from the top of the lineup, the Rogers Centre could be packed for playoff action later this season.