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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Everyone with RISP

Okay, we're 'cheating' a bit here, while also appreciating we've already touched on this recently, but there is no denying the collective production has to improve. The Blue Jays' struggles with runners in scoring position are exasperating, especially considering the talent in the lineup.

The Blue Jays are tied-fifth in plate appearances and third in at-bats with runners in scoring position. And yet, they are also just tied-24th when it comes to batting average in this scenario.

Breaking it down further, the Blue Jays are just tied-26th in OBP, as well as 28th in both slugging percentage and OPS. For some context, overall they are fifth, 11th and ninth respectively. (They are also tied-fourth in batting average.)

Making the situation more confounding, is the Blue Jays' success by comparison with runners in scoring position last year. They were 13th in batting average and ninth in OBP, while also eighth in both slugging percentage and OPS.

Unsurprisingly, this lack of success with runners in scoring position is reflected in the Blue Jays' overall scoring. In fact the contrast in startling, with them ranked fourth last year and just 15th so far this season.

As much as this is about pointing out a team-wide issue, a couple of the Blue Jays' worst 'offenders' epitomize the struggles. More specifically, Santiago Espinal and Brandon Belt.

In the case of Espinal, his .178 batting average and .475 OPS with runners in scoring position both rank worst among all Blue Jays regular players. However, this is indicative of an overall drop in his production with the bat, following last year's breakout All-Star campaign.

As for Belt, he is third-lowest among all regular contributors with a .194 batting average and fourth-lowest with a .571 OPS, when runners are in scoring position. As one of the best hitters on the ballclub overall, more should (and must) be expected when he's presented with scoring opportunities.

Overall, this all alludes to the potential being there to be one of the most potent offences in the Majors. However, if they can't overcome their collective mental block in clutch situations, it's going to prove to be their downfall whether they make the playoffs or not.