4 Blue Jays that need to step up for Toronto to stand a chance in 2023

With the Blue Jays by no means assured a playoff place come October, which players need to step up their game during the final eight weeks of the regular season?
Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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With us now at the business end of the 2023 regular season, it's a nerve-racking time for the Blue Jays and their fans. While they're currently in a wild card spot, the Mariners and divisional rival Red Sox and Yankees are lurking.

This is not to say a 65-51 record is shabby - for context, last year the Blue Jays were 61-54 at the same point. Regardless, this is a ballclub still regarded as underachieving, which speaks to the talent on the roster.

Along these lines, it's time for certain individuals to raise their game. Here are four players who need to step up, to help the Blue Jays in their quest for a playoff spot.

NB - All statistics up to and including August 9.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

As much as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads the Blue Jays in home runs and RBI, he's still not performing at a satisfactory level. This alludes to how high the ceiling is for him.

If the Blue Jays' bats are collectively underachieving up to this point of the season -- and they are -- then Guerroro Jr. serves as the figurehead. He has generational-level offensive talent, but still isn't fulfilling his potential.

Last year theoretically represented a step back for Guerrero Jr., although in fairness his 2021 campaign was always going to be a tough act to follow. In its own right though, 2022 was another excellent year highlighted by 32 homers and 97 RBI, with him seemingly well on the road to superstardom.

Unfortunately for everyone concerned, this season has seen the 24-year-old take another step back. He's currently projected to have his least-productive season since his rookie campaign, specifically in slugging percentage, home run percentage and OPS.

Further causing concern, Guerrero Jr. is currently on course to have his worst month yet in 2023. While we're only one-third of the way through August, his .214/.267/.393 slash line and .660 OPS are not good enough, especially at this juncture of the regular season

Having said all this, it's not a case where anyone should give up on the 2021 Silver Slugger. (Although there are certain members of the local media wondering out aloud if he is just another decent bat, with his 2021 season being the outlier rather than the norm.)

In terms of what Guerrero Jr. is capable of, there is one big difference between him and the other names on this list. As much as the others can collectively help improve results, he's the one player capable of lifting and galvanizing the entire team on his own, if he plays closer to his ability.