It's fair to state defence doesn't get as many headlines as offence and pitching. However, don't mistake this for it being underappreciated; its importance cannot be stressed enough.
Along these lines, Sports Info Solutions got into the spirit of things following the recent festivities in Seattle, by selecting a defensive All-Star team. And it makes for good reading, especially if you're a Blue Jays fan.
Mark Simon picked 24 players in total and the Blue Jays had the most representatives, with four. This included Kevin Kiermaier and Alejandro Kirk as starters, as well as Matt Chapman and Daulton Varsho as reserves.
We recently wrote about how Kiermaier should have been selected as an All-Star for this year's game at T-Mobile Park. While being named to Simon's team won't make up for his omission, it still gives you an idea of how highly-rated (and respected) he is for his defensive skills.
The three-time Gold Glove Award winner is statistically one of the very best outfielders of all time, and he continues to excel in Toronto. He leads all Major League centre fielders with a 1.5 DWAR (tied-sixth overall), 13 DRS (tied-fifth) and 18.1 UZR/150 (second).
Growing behind the plate
As for Kirk, a decline in his hitting production stopped him from earning a second consecutive selection to the All-Star Game. On the positive side however, his game behind the plate has improved impressively.
From a Blue Jays' perspective, pitchers have a lower combined ERA with the 24-year-old compared to Danny Jansen, while he also frames pitches better than his platoon teammate. In terms of the Majors, he is tied-first among all catchers with nine DRS, and tied-fifth with a 0.9 DWAR.
Blue Jays' defensive strength on display
Turning to Chapman, he has long been renowned as a top-tier defender. The two-time Platinum Glove Award winner is tied-second among Major League third baseman with 10 DRS and a 1.3 DWAR.
Last but certainly not least is Varsho, who is tied with teammate Kiermaier for first among all outfielders in DWAR, at 1.5. In terms of the 27-year-old's versatility and consistency, he has the second-most DRS in both left field (seven) and centre field (nine), as well as second overall (16) in the Majors regardless of position.
From a team perspective, while the overall narrative is that the Blue Jays have underachieved and been inconsistent so far in 2023, this doesn't apply to the defense specifically. This is highlighted by being tied for the fifth-fewest runs in the Majors and leading the way with 42 DRS, helping justify Simon picking four of their players.
NB - All statistics up to and including July 17.