3. Less mistakes
The Blue Jays entered 2023 with a new identity: that being a team that pitches well, plays exceptional defence, and excels at small ball. Two of those things happened, as the pitching staff was mostly phenomenal and the Jays won the team Gold Glove award for 2023. The small ball aspect was the one missing, despite it being the facet of their identity that was supposed to score the runs.
The Blue Jays leaned into more singles and walks with the hopes of it leading to more consistent runs. The opposite happened, as the club was routinely the worst clutch team in the sport and failed to capitalize on their opportunities.
This lack of clutch may have led to pressing on the bases. The Blue Jays were horrible at running the bases in 2023, despite that being an emphasis from February and onward. FanGraphs' base running metric graded the Jays at a -12.5. The best baserunner as per FanGraphs was Daulton Varsho, who carried a 2.8 base running value. The worst was unsurprisingly Alejandro Kirk, who sported a whopping -10.3. It’s hard to hold this against Kirk, as is legs aren’t a weapon at all, but he was often thrown out on base running attempts that had no business of being made. Other guys who should’ve been better base runners, but weren’t, include Kevin Kiermaier, Bichette and Springer. All of them brought a value in the negatives on the bases.
This problem can find solution if it’s worked out between the players and coaching staff. The Blue Jays need to go back to hitting homeruns, of course. Nevertheless, being competent on the bases should be a bare minimum for a team competing for a division.