After an injury riddled first season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021, George Springer will be looking for a big bounce back in 2022.
Recapping Springer’s 2021
There was a lot of anticipation and excitement around Springer’s first season as a Toronto Blue Jay after he inked a 6-year $150 million free agent contract; the largest in club history.
However, injuries marred Springer’s season as he suffered an oblique injury in spring training followed by a quad injury, which he then battled for most of the first half of the season.
Interestingly, when he first returned from injury, Springer was not slotted in at the top of the Blue Jays lineup, but rather was put in the clean up spot or fifth in the batting order. It wasn’t until Manager Charlie Montoyo inserted Springer atop the lineup, when the 2017 World Series MVP started to showcase the form that has made him one of the baseball’s best position players.
Springer had his share of signature moments in his maiden voyage season as a Blue Jay, including a memorable go ahead three-run homer in August to cap a huge come back win against the Boston Red Sox.
Once Springer hit his stride and was back to full health in the month of August, he became the first player in club history to win back to back American League Player of the Week honours, and it seemed like his presence would be a huge factor in helping propel the Blue Jays into a playoff spot.
Unfortunately for Springer and the Blue Jays, the injury bug struck yet again as he injured his knee in Seattle, and then had to grind through the rest of his season at far less than 100% health.
Despite all of the injury issues in year one of the Springer experience, the final season stats for 2021 were still strong, as he finished with 22 homers, a 140 WRC+ and accrued 2.4 fWAR in only 78 games played.
Expectations for 2022
Any reasonable or realistic expectations for George Springer for 2022 and beyond need to start and end with his health.
Springer has played 140 or more games only three times in his career and has not reached that benchmark since the 2018 season.
Despite all of the injuries this past season, Springer was still a competent defensive centre fielder according to Baseball Savant.
With the departure of Marcus Semien to the Texas Rangers on a 7 year $175 million contract, the Blue Jays will need Springer to provide a consistent presence in the lineup to try and offset the hole left by Semien.
If Springer is able to stay healthy, and starts the year in his customary perch at the top of the Blue Jays lineup, there should be no reason to assume that he will do anything other than produce as he has for his entire career.
Steamer’s 2022 projection for Springer has him hitting 34 homers, scoring 103 runs, and accruing a 3.9 fWAR, which all Blue Jays fans would happily sign up for.
However, Springer’s injury history and age must be taken into consideration when evaluating what he may or may not do going forward, and that injury track record should give fans at least some pause and trepidation.