Lefties duo: Daulton Varsho and Brandon Belt
During the 2022-23 offseason, the Jays believed that they had significantly strengthened their hitting from the left side by making bold moves in acquiring Daulton Varsho from the Arizona Diamondbacks and signing veteran Brandon Belt via free agency. However, when the 2023 season started, both players were mired in huge slumps at the plate. As a result, it practically nullified any lefties advantage the Jays had when facing any right-handed pitcher, as they ended up depending on the likes of righties Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Matt Chapman to carry the offensive load for the team for much of April.
However, both Varsho and Belt have slowly but steadily turned things around in May, in particular during their current successful stretch of games. Varsho has been scorching the ball lately, with a 10-game hitting streak that was just snapped on Wednesday night. During the 10-game streak, he hit .290 with a .957 OPS, seven runs scored, four home runs, six RBI, two walks, four strikeouts, and a stolen base to boot. More impressively, Belt has gone from scapegoat to superhero in recent weeks as in his past 12 games, he has posted a .300 batting average with an OPS close to 1.000, to go along with four runs scored, two home runs, six RBI, 11 walks and 18 strikeouts. He has definitely become a much more effective hitter the past few weeks after striking out at an alarming rate close to 50% at the start of the season.
Together, the Jays’ lefties duo have now began to provide more consistent production from the left side of the plate, and this bodes well for the Jays for the coming months as they battle for playoff contention. Not to forget Kevin Kiermaier as well, who has also been providing solid offence from the left side for much of the season, despite his recent mini-slump. Having the lefties in the lineup contributing to balance with what the righties have done already for the Jays so far this season makes their offence super scary for any opposing pitchers looking to utilize any handedness strategies to their advantage.