Happy New Year, from everyone associated with Jays Journal. Here's hoping that 2024 proves to be a positive year for one and all, including the Toronto Blue Jays.
In this respect, last year was one which started off with promise and hope for the Blue Jays, but ultimately ended in disappointment. In some respects, you can make the case that the team is at a crossroads entering the New Year.
The question is, what will it take for Toronto's finest to go from being a peripheral contender to a genuine one? Here are three New Year resolutions, which can help the Blue Jays make that jump:
1) Turn the corner on offense
The difference between the 2021 and 2023 campaigns was like night and day, when it came to production with the bat. Last season really was a disappointment, when considering the offensive talent on the roster.
In 2021, the Blue Jays were a force to be reckoned with for the rest of Major League Baseball. Among other things, they led the way in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.
In addition, the Blue Jays finished second among all teams in hits and batting average, and third in runs. In one of the great 'what-ifs' in franchise history, they missed out on a wild card spot by just one game.
Now compare this offensive display to last season, when the Blue Jays were an underachieving disappointment. They were ranked 16th in home runs and RBI, 13th in slugging percentage and 11th in OPS.
As a result of all this, the Blue Jays finished just tied-14th in runs scored. Yes they made the playoffs unlike in 2021, but were swept in Minnesota after managing just one run overall in two games.
Alluding to the potential of this team, they did finish tied-sixth in hits and tied-eighth in batting average. However, more is needed, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in many ways being the poster boy in all of this.
Guerrero was a monster in 2021, leading the league in homers, total bases and runs. He also led the AL in OBP, slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+, resulting in him finishing second in MVP voting behind a certain Shohei Ohtani.
Since then however, the three-time All-Star has failed to build on this. Yes he led qualifying Blue Jays in home runs, RBI and OBP last season, but he's still capable of so much more.
The Blue Jays need to focus on returning somewhere closer to their offensive production of 2021. If they manage to, this will compliment an excellent pitching staff and defence, thus making them a dangerous team and genuine contender come playoff time.