Blue Jays: Attainable individual goals for key players just past the halfway mark

San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays
San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Toronto Blue Jays have just passed the halfway mark of the season, a considerable sample size of games that has given fans plenty of ups and downs.

Teams should have a clear sense of what kind of team they are and what goals they may be able to accomplish by this time.

It’s also a sensible checkpoint to project what individual goals can be achieved by the time the season wraps up on October 1st.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - .900+ OPS

It’s been a weird year for Guerrero. He’s consistently hit the ball hard but has failed to achieve the same results as in 2021 or even last year.

It’s logical to think that the 24-year-old could start seeing better results, and the recent six-game stretch (8/23, 3HR) suggests he could already be amid an extended hot streak. It’s not as sexy as hitting 50 home runs or driving in 100, but an OPS of .900 or better would be a definitive step in the right direction.

Bo Bichette - 200 hits

It could be appropriate to have a few milestones for Bichette in his finest season in the majors. After hitting 29 and 24 homers over the last two seasons, 30 seems well within reach this year. Likewise, after leading the AL in hits in 2021 and ‘22 with 189 and 191 hits, hitting 200 appears to be a formality. 

Matt Chapman - 50 doubles 

It’s certainly been an up-and-down year for Chapman. He started the season red-hot, hitting .384 in March/April and just .205 since then. One thing the veteran third baseman has done all season is collect two-base hits, a league-leading 26 thus far. Doubling that total and reaching 50 is a reachable goal. 

Danny Jansen - 20 Home Runs  

Danny Jansen has emerged as one of the most prolific power-hitting catchers in baseball. After going deep 15 times in just 215 at-bats in 2022, Jansen has hit double-digits in 162 ABs this year, a similar percentage, and well above the league average. If he can avoid lengthy IL stints, a jump up to 20 is a reasonable projection. 

Whit Merrifield - 40 stolen bases

When he was acquired in a surprising trade last summer, many assumed Whit Merrifield had been relegated to a part-time role. The 34-year-old has worked hard to become an integral member of the team and has increased his tendency to run. He’d have to turn it up with 18 steals Whit could reach 40 for the third time in his career. 

Daulton Varsho - 30+ defensive runs saved  

With 14 defensive runs saved, Daulton Varsho is tied for second in the majors, along with Wander Franco and teammate Kevin Kiermaier. He’s nearly on pace to match last season’s 30, a plateau reached by only one other player. 

Kevin Kiermaier - 10 triples 

As great as Kiermaier has been with the glove, his hitting has been a revelation. He’s shown a consistent ability to hit for extra-base power with 11 doubles, four homers, and a league-high five triples. If “Outlaw” can hit five more, it’ll be his highest in a season since he hit 12 in 2015. 

Kevin Gausman - 250 strikeouts 

Kevin Gausman has been conjuring swings and misses at a career-best rate and has racked up more strikeouts than any other pitcher this season. Getting to 300 may be pushing it, but reaching 250 is a modest goal. 

Jordan Romano - 50 saves

Romano has steadily increased his saves numbers, from 23 in 2021 to 36 last season. With an MLB-high 24 already, doubling that plus two would give him the highest single-season total in team history and place him in third on the all-time list, behind Tom Henke and Duane Ward.