Is everyone healthy?
A handful of the projected Blue Jays regulars are coming off of seasons in which they were riddled with injuries. Spring Training will give us a glimpse into George Springer’s, Kevin Kiermaier’s, and Brandon Belt’s health and see if they’re able to back up their strong words. There have been positive reports on the health of all three, with Belt’s confidence in his knee being the most recent.
Belt’s recent Zoom conference, during which he expressed how excited he was to be a Blue Jay, had the former Giant expressing confidence in his repaired knee which bothered him all last season.
Belt has the reputation of being a consistent and productive offensive player. He’s an on base machine, and an uptick in power production could be expected given his transition to a more hitter friendly park. Spring camp will shed light onto how healthy Belt really is, as a lot of playing time should be heading his way. With Vlad set to depart for the World Baseball Classic in mid-March, expect to see a lot of Brandon Belt at first and DH throughout the spring.
Kevin Kiermaier has said he’s the everyday center fielder, and for good reason. He remains one of the best defensive players in baseball, it’s just on him to stay on the field and show it. Having undergone hip surgery last year, Kiermaier has been saying his newly repaired hip feels good. Kiermaier’s health will be a topic of major importance this season. Even though the Jays have other players capable of playing an above average centerfield, having Kiermaier in the fold grants the Jays flexibility required to ensure Springer has a full, healthy season.
Of course, Springer’s health is always a topic of conversation. Having recovered from a concussion and still working towards a healthy right elbow after having surgery, the only goal for Springer this spring should be to just end it healthy. The Jays got a taste of a full season from Springer last year, posting a 4 WAR over 133 games. It would be fun to see what the numbers could look like over a similar amount of games, but without the tedious bone spurs that hindered Springer down the stretch.
The last player of note, one we’ve spoken of previously, is Nate Pearson. Pearson represents what the Jays need in a reliever. A high power fastball, a devastating slider, and the ability to work multiple innings would be a transformative addition to the bullpen at some point in 2023. Spring Training should shed some light as to whether or not Pearson’s winter league performance was legit, and if he can be counted on to record big outs in meaningful games.