Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Springer has experienced an uptick in production lately, which has boosted his team and improved his overall numbers for the season. His recent play is undoubtedly a source of relief to himself and the fanbase, given the considerable investment the franchise has made in him.
He’s in the third year of a six-year, $150 million contract signed before the 2021 campaign, and it’s yielded good, not great results. Injuries limited him to just 78 games in 2021, but he managed to hit for a .907 OPS with 22 home runs. Springer recovered to play 133 games in 2022, increased his home run total to 25, and was named an AL All-Star.
His latest hot and cold streaks are the story of the veteran’s season Over 17 games. from July 15th to August 3rd, the 33-year-old hit just .121 (8/66) to drop his batting average from .272 to .245. Then, over the next 33 games, he hit .323 with six homers, 22 RBI, and a .929 OPS. In the five games since, Springer had one hit in 18 at-bats before breaking out on Tuesday night.
Taking his reputation as a streaky hitter, it’s fair to wonder how the second half of the largest free-agent contract in franchise history will play out. When it was signed, there was a feeling of it being a big step toward the Jays being a real contender, although the length of the pact gave some pause.
Springer doesn’t appear to have lost a step and has established a new career-high with 19 stolen bases, but it’s something to keep an eye on. The move to rightfield has energized the former Connecticut Huskie; he’s in the top 10 of innings played at the position. He’s in the middle of the pack in advanced defensive numbers but has stretched out for several highlight-reel catches and certainly hasn’t hurt the team out there.
More reps as designated hitters and possibly more frequent rest days as the contract moves into the final two years is likely, but expect similar usage in 2024. Another thing to track in the coming years is Springer Dingers, the affectionate name for home runs by the fan favorite.
He led off the latest series with his 20th homer of the season, the third successive year he’s hit that mark. It was also Springer’s 57th career leadoff home run, the second most all-time. It’s highly improbable for him to catch Rickey Henderson for the top spot at 81, but the ten-year veteran is one of the best leadoff hitters ever.