As excellent as Kiermarier was in the outfield for the Blue Jays last season, Daulton Varsho was even better. In fact, you can make a case for the latter being the best defensive player in all of baseball during 2023.
Varsho led all Major League players with 29 Defensive Runs Saved. (For some context, Kiermaier had 18.) As per Fielding Bible, this helped the Blue Jays lead all teams in the category, 17 ahead of second place.
The 27-year-old also finished second in the league with 2.81 dWAR, while proving his durability with a team-high 157 games on the outfield grass. He was also reliable and consistent with only two fielding errors all season, and it remains a wonder why he has yet to win a Gold Glove.
Varsho was initially expected to move over to centre field in 2024 to make up for the loss of Kiermaier, but will now remain in left field, perhaps in a platoon with Davis Schneider. There is nothing to suggest he won't continue to excel defensively.
Offensively it's admittedly another story, at least based on last year. The 2017 second round draft pick struggled to make contact with the ball, as highlighted by a .220/.285/.389 slash line, .674 OPS and 85 OPS+.
However, this doesn't mean there isn't potential there for Varsho to be a fine offensive player. Consider that when he did make contact with the bat he was effective, finishing third on the Blue Jays in home runs and fifth in RBI.
Further, consider that when the former Arizona Diamondback does get on base he's dangerous, ranking third on the team in stolen bases. With him in the 95th percentile for base running, it is no wonder he was first in the AL in bunts.
In respect of Varsho's ZiPS projections he is in line to seem some improvement, with a .241/.304/.455 slash line and .759 OPS. Further encouragement comes with the projection of 25 home runs and a career-high 77 RBI, which would be excellent for the Blue Jays as long as he does continue to provide stellar defence.