The Toronto Blue Jays’ roller-coaster ride of a season has fans scrambling to find some positivity and consistency to cling to.
There are some spirited races atop the team leaderboard in several categories, and no matter what the outcome of the final two and a half months of the season are, some of these should come down to the wire.
Here are some of the team statistical leaderboard races and personal milestones to keep an eye on in the season’s second half.
Blue Jays Leaderboard – Position Players
Not surprisingly, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads the team with 20 home runs. He’s also closing in on a significant personal milestone in that category. He needs just nine more homers to reach 100 for his career. His lead atop the team leaders in long balls is slim with George Springer just three back with 17. After hitting 48 bombs last season, Guerrero Jr.’s total is a drop in production, but he still has a great chance to hit 40.
Springer has a legitimate chance to set the Major League record for the most leadoff homers in a single season. That was set by Alfonso Soriano in 2003 with 13. Springer currently has 8 leadoff dingers at the halfway point in the campaign.
When it comes to doubles, the race is tight. Currently, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. leads with 23. Santiago Espinal and Bo Bichette are just one back, with 21 and 20 respectively. If Gurriel Jr. can hit 10 more two-baggers, not only will he surpass 30 on the season, he’d hit the century mark for his career.
Bichette led the American League in hits in 2021 and is currently sixth in the AL with 99 so far this season. There’s no surprise that he’s leading the team in that category. Guerrero Jr. and the red-hot Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are Bichette’s closest competitors, with 95 and 93 hits respectively. Bichette is just 14 hits away from 400 for his career and has an outside shot at reaching 500 this season. Vlad is just 33 hits away from 500 for his young career.
Numerous Blue Jays players are close to personal milestones while a few have the potential to best single-season league records by the end of the year.
RBI is an “old-school” stat and one that many have tried to devalue over the years. I’m not really part of that crowd. Runs are obviously crucial. So, shouldn’t the act of driving in runs also be vital? In any case, Guerrero Jr. is also leading the team in this stat, with 57. He has a great chance to exceed 100 for the second straight year and is 32 away from 300 MLB RBI.
Alejandro Kirk leads the club in both batting average and OPS. He has a chance to become the first Blue Jays player to win a batting title since John Olerud in 1993. Gurriel Jr. is the only teammate close to Kirk in average and Guerrero Jr. is a fair .062 points behind in OPS.
Blue Jays: Leaders and Milestones, Pitchers
Alek Manoah leads the team in wins, ERA, innings pitched, and WHIP. Kevin Gausman leads the team in strikeouts and is within range of Manoah with his 2.87 ERA. Manoah is just nine punchouts back of Gausman and is just two wins away from 20 in his career, and seven from 25.
Just behind Manoah in wins is relief pitcher Adam Cimber, who has eight. That’s impressive, although he’s far from the single-season AL record for wins by a reliever, which is 17 set by John Hiller and Bill Campbell in the 1970s.
Both Gausman (70), and Jose Berrios (67) are closing in on 75 career wins. With 57 more strikeouts, Berrios will hit 1000 in his time in the majors, which should be achievable at some point this season.
Sunday was a big day for Jordan Romano. He was named an All-Star for the first time and closed out the win against the Royals with his 20th save of the season. He was a deserving candidate as no one has more saves in the American League. Romano is just five saves away from hitting the 50-mark for his career.