2 reasons for optimism, 3 for concern as the Blue Jays enter final five weeks of 2023

What are the key strengths and weaknesses of the Blue Jays heading into the stretch run?
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
3 of 5

3 things that could work against the Jays

Inconsistent run production

Many of the Jays’ faithful have complained about the team’s hitting all season, along with the fact that they should hire a new hitting coach to get them to hit properly. Believe it or not, the ACTUAL hitting part hasn’t been an issue for the Blue Jays because they are actually ranked within the top 10 in the entire league in terms of team batting average (8th), on-base percentage (9th), and the total number of hits (6th). Their main issue is their ability to move baserunners along and their ability to drive them in.

Because of this deficiency, the Jays have ranked in the bottom half of the entire league in runs scored (17th), home runs (tied for 16th), RBI (17th), stolen bases (19th), and caught stealing (26th) for the bulk of the season. More worrisome is the fact that they are fourth last in the league in grounding into double plays and sacrifice hits and tied for dead last in sacrifice flies. So basically Jays’ hitters are getting the hits and getting on base, but they aren’t doing enough to advance the baserunners and convert them into valuable runs.

This obviously is related to their year-long struggle in hitting in the clutch with runners in scoring position, which has been another monumental problem on its own, as they are hitting only .249 with RISP to rank 21st in the league heading into Sunday's game. Nevertheless, if their offensive group doesn't turn all of this around soon enough, it could potentially be their nail in the coffin by year’s end and with their playoff hopes rapidly fading along with it.