A look at how far the Toronto Blue Jays lineup has come since Opening Day 2018

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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Just five years ago, the Toronto Blue Jays were entering what would end up being the second of a three-year rebuild on the heels of two consecutive trips to the ALCS.

The 2018 Jays opened the season at home against the New York Yankees, losing 6-1 to start off a season that would see the club go 73-89, good for fourth place in the division.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is only one single player from that squad five years ago that remains on the team and that is catcher Danny Jansen. Every single other member of that year's active roster has moved on.

Let's compare the 2018 Opening Day starters with what will likely be the 2023 lineup and see just how far this club has come.

Catcher: Russell Martin (2018) Alejandro Kirk (2023)

Martin wound up playing four seasons in Toronto with 2018 being the last. The Canadian backstop played his entire career as a well-liked figure who left it all out on the field. He got into just 90 games in 2018, hitting 10 home runs and posting a .194 batting average.

Kirk, 24, came seemingly out of nowhere last season, making it to the All-Star Game as the starting catcher and eventually securing his first career Silver Slugger Award. He comes with his fair share of haters thanks to his unique body structure for a professional baseball player, but he has shown that he has the talent to not only succeed at the big league level, but excel.

First base: Justin Smoak (2018) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (2023)

Smoak was a reliable, switch-hitting power hitter that gave the Blue Jays some much-needed thump in the middle of their lineup. He ended up playing five seasons in Toronto, hitting 117 home runs and even making it to the All-Star Game in 2017. He hit 25 home runs with a 122 OPS+ in 2018.

Vladdy is so dang young and has shown that he has what it takes to be a true superstar for the Jays. Still only 23-years-old, he has been one of the most consistent and fearsome hitters in the big leagues since his incredible breakout performance in 2021. Guerrero is a dynamic enough player that it wouldn't be at all surprising if he can somehow get even better than he was in '21.