The Toronto Blue Jays have had their share of star players over the years. Despite being a relatively young franchise compared to some of the more famously storied teams in Major League Baseball, the top players to play in Toronto is an impressive list.
But who has been the best to put on a Blue Jays uniform since the team's inception in 1977, and how do you measure their value?
Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is the go-to formula for deciphering a player's overall value. Using FanGraphs' WAR data, we have compiled the all-time best starting lineup the Blue Jays franchise has ever fielded.
We begin at the catcher position. Although the Blue Jays have employed a number of top-end backstops, one name stands above the rest among the players to don the catcher's gear in Toronto.
Catcher: Ernie Whitt, 21.8 fWAR
Ernie Whitt helped carry the Blue Jays teams of the 1980s to prominence through his consistent offense and steady defense behind the plate. He accumulated a 21.8 fWAR during his 12 seasons in Toronto after being selected from the Red Sox in the expansion draft before the 1977 season.
Whitt played 1,218 games in a Blue Jays uniform, easily the most by a catcher, and holds records in almost every offensive category. He leads all Toronto catchers in hits (888), home runs (131), singles (578), doubles (164), triples (15), runs (424), RBI (518), walks (403) and stolen bases (22). Not to mention his 487 Weighted Runs Created (wRC) and 208.2 Runs Above Replacement (RAR).
His lone All-Star appearance came during the 1985 campaign. He slashed .245/.323/.444 with 19 home runs, 55 runs and 64 RBI that year, en route to helping the Jays capture their first AL East pennant. He helped the team return to the playoffs in 1989 before being traded to the Braves in the offseason.
Next: The best all-time Blue Jays first baseman shouldn't be a surprise.