6. George Bell – 1987
In the 1980 Rule 5 Draft, the Blue Jays made one of the better Rule 5 picks in MLB history, stealing George Bell from the Phillies. Bell represented one-third of arguably the best outfield in Jays history alongside Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield for many years.
Once Bell got a full-time starting role in 1984, he was an instant contributor. He had three straight seasons with an OPS+ over 115 along with 25+ home run power. He won two Silver Sluggers from 1984-1986 along with three straight top 19 MVP finishes.
Bell was already becoming an All-Star type of hitter but he took his game to a whole other level in the 1987 season. Bell slashed .308/.352/.605 with 47 home runs and an American League-leading 134 RBI. He made his first career All-Star team, won his third straight Silver Slugger, and ended up being the first Blue Jays player to win the American League MVP award.
Bell was eighth in the American League with a 143 WRC+, but that was mainly due to him not walking very much. His 5.8% walk rate was significantly lower than the leaders in the category, but Bell’s offensive season was nothing short of extraordinary even with the low walks. The power and his ability to make contact won him an MVP award.
Bell set franchise records in home runs, RBI, total bases, slugging, and OPS. These records have been broken, but his 1987 season was one of the more historic campaigns in Jays history.