Seven Blue Jays featured on MLB.com Top 100 players for 2022
74. Kevin Gausman – SP
Another new addition to the Blue Jays squad, Kevin Gausman was one pitcher Ross Atkins and the front office had their eyes on and they were finally able to bring him to Toronto this past offseason. Replacing the recently departed southpaw Robbie Ray in the rotation, Gausman revitalized his career with the San Francisco Giants over the past two seasons, amassing a combined 3.00 ERA through 45 appearances with 306 strikeouts through 251.2 innings of work.
Joining the Blue Jays on a five-year deal, Gausman is no stranger to the Rogers Centre, owning a 3-3 record with a 3.83 ERA through 12 outings as a member of the Baltimore Orioles early in his career. The right-handed starter finds himself at #74 this season after an impressive 2021 campaign that saw him finish sixth in innings pitched (192.0) and strikeouts (227) while holding opponents to a .210 batting average.
65. Teoscar Hernandez – OF
While it took a few years for Teoscar Hernandez to piece it all together, he proved last season that his breakout 2020 campaign was not just a one-off as the Dominican product earned a consecutive Silver Slugger award on his way to 32 home runs, 116 RBI, and a .870 OPS. Had he not missed a couple of weeks early in the campaign on the COVID-19 IL, it is not unjust to think that Hernandez could have overtaken Salvador Perez as the RBI leader (121).
MLB.com released its Top 100 player rankings for the 2022 campaign and several Blue Jays find themselves amongst the group.
Hernandez was one of the reasons the Blue Jays lineup was so strong last season and he should continue to give opposing pitchers trouble this season behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the batting order. Factor in that the right-fielder has seen an improvement on the defensive side of the ball these past two years (-7 bDRS in 2019 to -3 and -2 in 2020 and 2021 respectively), and it’s easy to see why he ranks at #65 heading into 2022.
33. George Springer – OF
George Springer was the star signing of the 2020/2021 offseason for the Blue Jays and their fanbase, and while injuries limited him to just 78 games and 299 at-bats last season, when the Connecticut product was in the game, he was contributing. He would finish the year with a .264/.352/.555 slash line while adding 22 home runs and amassing a .907 OPS split between patrolling centre field and acting as the designated hitter.
Considered healthy heading into the upcoming campaign, Springer’s presence in the Jays lineup will be an absolute game-changer this year, especially with Semien no longer in the mix. A full season of the Jays regular centre fielder at the top of the lineup should go a long way to getting the club into postseason contention.