Brandon Belt leads Blue Jays to top five spot at DH in FanGraphs rankings

Mar 13, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Brandon Belt (13) doubles
Mar 13, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Brandon Belt (13) doubles / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs has released their designated hitter rankings, and the Blue Jays have snagged another top-10 ranking heading into the 2023 season. 

The Blue Jays, led by Brandon Belt, rank fourth at the designated hitter position, with a combined projected WAR of 2.8. Belt is expected to be the regular DH against right-handers, but the Jays could use as many as six players at DH this season, with four projected to get more than 100 plate appearances as the DH.

Aside from the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, who projects a 3.5 WAR, and the Astros’ combination of Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez - who combine for a projected 2.8 WAR - the difference between the third ranked team and the 11th ranked team is just 0.9 points. The only other team ranked ahead of the Blue Jays is the Phillies, who project to have a 2.9 WAR, mostly split between Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos.

As for Toronto, Alejandro Kirk is projected to have upwards of 168 plate appearances at DH, for a WAR of 0.7. Danny Jansen is projected to own a WAR of 0.3, across 133 DH plate appearances. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is projected to have 119 plate appearances as the DH, with a WAR of 0.8, and George Springer projects to contribute just 35 DH plate appearances with a 0.2 WAR.




Brandon Belt



Alejando Kirk



Danny Jansen



Vladimir Guerrero Jr.



George Springer



Cavan Biggio






The Jays had three different players log at least 30 games at DH in the 2022 season - Guerrero, Kirk and Springer. This season, the newly acquired Belt will seemingly start as the main DH against right-handers, providing the position with some stability and hopefully some pop to replace Teoscar Hernández. Belt will swap places at 1B with Guerrero every so often to give the perennial MVP candidate a day off, while Kirk could rotate in as both a catcher and DH. Springer will also need his fair share of defensive days off.

Belt’s WAR projection of 0.8 will not stand out, but we are just a single season removed from his career best in home runs with 29, and he has had three other seasons with a WAR above 4.0. The former World Series champion will provide the team with veteran leadership, and a powerful left-handed bat in the middle of the order, as long as he can maintain his health. Belt has failed to play in 100 games in each of the past two seasons, though his ability to reach base and produce offensively was not hindered.

Next. Chad Green has officially been placed on the 60-day IL. dark