Bold predictions for the Toronto Blue Jays this upcoming season
Later this evening, the Toronto Blue Jays will be facing the Texas Rangers at the Rogers Centre, the first home opener on Canadian soil since 2019 due to Covid-19 restrictions forcing the club south of the border the last two years.
This has fans excited, not just because baseball is back after the lockout negotiations had things looking bleak this past offseason, but also because the Blue Jays enter the 2022 season as one of the top teams in not just the American League, but across the entire MLB.
That being said, the Jays Journal staff and members from the Jay Bird Watching Podcast got together and comprised some bold predictions for numerous players on the roster this season. Let’s take a look at what everyone came up with.
Cavan Biggio is in for a Big Year
With the additions of Springer and others over the past few seasons, Cavan Biggio is no longer a top-of-the-order option. Mix in that he’s also no longer playing third base and will get the opportunity to play his more comfortable second base, it’s safe to say he’s in a much more relaxed situation. Hitting at the bottom of this lineup, he’s sure to see his fair share of good pitches.
If healthy (and that’s a major factor), Biggio could be in for a big year. Getting on base at a nice clip (.354 career OBP) with the top of this order at the plate will result in scoring 80 plus runs. In 238 games, he’s hit 31 HR and has gone 23/24 in stolen base attempts, thus setting him up for his first 20-20 season. All the while he plays the most games on this team at second base.
Matt Chapman has a 5+ WAR season
When healthy, Chapman’s offence paired with his godly defence makes him a WAR machine. Chapman has fully recovered from his hip surgery, and paired with this stacked lineup, he’s in line to have a productive year that generates more than 5+ WAR.
Ten Blue Jays will Establish Career-Highs in Home Runs in 2022
After falling just two short last season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hits the 50-homer plateau this year. George Springer’s current best of 39 occurred in just 122 games and getting him into 140 or so games would go a long way towards besting that.
Santiago Espinal looked noticeably more bulked up this spring, expect him to go yard eight to ten times. Raimel Tapia will hit double-digits for the first time this season and Matt Chapman, after years of seeing potential home runs turn into flyouts also joins the club. Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez and Bo Bichette round out the career-high club.
The Blue Jays will pull off a Massive Trade at the Deadline
With the roster poised to be World Series contenders, the Blue Jays still have to compete in a tough AL East division. While I think they will be near the top of the division standings, they may need some outside help to get them over the edge and make them a complete all-around team.
I think the Blue Jays will pull off another massive trade deadline deal, acquiring another prominent arm or two for the bullpen and maybe a second baseman, relegating Cavan Biggio to the bench or possibly heading to the opposite team alongside Alejandro Kirk and a prospect or two. Some names that stick out are Kenley Jansen (if the Atlanta Braves are for some reason not contending) and Whit Merrifield but more names will pop up as the season goes on clubs find themselves outside the playoff race.
With the standards high for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Jays Journal staff and the Jay Bird Watching crew make some bold predictions for the season.
Moreno Doesn’t Make his MLB Debut until late in the Season
Blue Jays’ top prospect, catcher Gabriel Moreno, has received quite a bit of hype as of late. Fans will be counting down until his arrival to the big leagues all season. However, let’s keep in mind he’s only played 35 games above A-ball and plays a premier position.
At 22 years old, the Blue Jays will be sure to not rush him. For him to have an early call-up, there must be a combination of him lighting up the minors and two of Jansen, Kirk, and Collins either hurt or not pulling their weight. If Moreno gets a taste of the majors at all this season, I don’t expect it before September.
– Frank Pirillo
Bo Bichette will lead the MLB in Hits and Runs Scored
Coming off a very impressive 2021 campaign in which he hit .298 with 29 home runs and 102 RBI, expect even bigger things for Bo Bichette this season. After being second in each of these respective categories last season (he led the AL in hits but was bested by Trea Turner in the NL), I fully expect Bichette to lead the Major Leagues in hits and runs scored in 2022.
Expectations are sky-high for Bichette in this upcoming season, and I see no reason why he can’t attain both these feats this year.
Some quick hits from the Jay Bird Watching Podcast Crew
- Bo Bichette will have a 40-40 season – Craig Borden
- Alek Manoah will finish within the top three for the AL Cy Young Award – Kris Key
- Teoscar Hernandez is traded before the deadline – Adam Corsair
- Matt Chapman finishes in the Top 10 for AL MVP – Brendan Panikkar
David Phelps pitches himself into a late-inning role
In my opinion, one of the best signings of the offseason was an under-the-radar MiLB contract that went to David Phelps, and I’m thrilled to see that he made the team.
Last season Phelps quickly found a late-inning role with the Blue Jays thanks to his performance, as he posted a 0.87 ERA and a 1.161 WHIP over his first 11 appearances. Unfortunately, his season ended in early May when he had to have surgery on his right lat. Had he stayed healthy throughout the 2021 campaign, he was well on his way to a multi-year deal. Instead, the Blue Jays brought him back on a minor-league pact.
I really feel like the 35-year-old had found a new level of performance prior to last season’s injury, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up playing a significant role for the Blue Jays as the year goes on. That’s not to say that I don’t believe in other late-inning candidates like Yimi Garcia and Tim Mayza, but I’m willing to bet that Phelps will earn Charlie Montoyo’s trust in fairly short order.
Jordan Romano makes the All-Star team
Jordan Romano was snubbed last year, without a doubt. This year, as the Blue Jays’ primary closer, the Ontario native should become a more known name in baseball circles and join the AL Squad in Los Angeles this July.
– Evan Gignac