The Toronto Blue Jays drop in power has been one of the more surprising developments of the 2023 season. After hitting an MLB-high 262 homers in 2021 and an even 200 last year (7th in the majors), the Jays are currently 16th with 156 in the current campaign.
Obviously, with the collective number down, the individuals haven’t performed up to expectations varying degrees. The result is a crowded, bunched-up home run leaderboard with a lower-than-expected number atop it.
A graphic during a game over the weekend showed a graph of teams sorted based on the number of 20+ home run hitters they had. The Blue Jays were at the bottom of that, and only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has reached 20 so far, but that could change in the coming weeks.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 20 Home Runs
As he has been for the last few seasons, Guerrero is again on top of the team rankings in the home run category. But, for the second year in a row, he has experienced a drop in power that is somewhat concerning. The 24-year-old has gone from 48 homers in 2021 to 32 last year, and he’ll do well to get close to that number this season.
2. Bo Bichette – 18 Home Runs
Despite missing three weeks with a knee injury, Bichette is second in the American League in hits (152) and second on his team in homers. His numbers are down since returning to the lineup (.629 OPS), and he’s only gone deep once during that span, but a reasonably hot finish should see the phenom reach the 24-29 range by season’s end, health permitting.
3. George Springer – 17 Home Runs
Springer has emerged from a pair of prolonged slumps and has found himself at his usual place at the top of the lineup card. Over his last 20 games, the right fielder has hit .329 with four homers, 12 RBI, and a .957 OPS. Having Springer hit leadoff gives him opportunities to add to his 56 career leadoff home runs, the second-most all-time behind Rickey Henderson’s 81.
T-4 Daulton Varsho, Danny Jansen – 16 Home Runs
Varsho has been one of the most polarizing players on the team and one that every fan seems to have a strong opinion about. A beloved player (Lourdes Gurriel Jr.) and a top prospect (Gabriel Moreno) were traded for Varsho. Although he’s established himself as one of the most valuable defensive outfielders, he hasn’t hit for power the way he has in the past.
Jansen has set a new career high with his 16th home run in the Jays series-opening win over Washington on Monday. The fact that he’s done this in just 261 at-bats while sharing the position with Alejandro Kirk speaks to his propensity for power. Avoiding getting hit in the hand with fastballs and staying on the active roster will be essential for the veteran.
T-5 Brandon Belt, Matt Chapman
Belt has recovered from his dreadful start to become one of the more productive hitters on the team. Since July 22nd, the longtime former San Francisco Giant has been on a roll with nine big flies and a .928 OPS over those 28 games.
Chapman has had an up-and-down season that isn’t likely to affect his upcoming free agency too dramatically. In the wake of his torrid April that resulted in a .384 batting average and a 1.152 OPS, Chapman has been a below-average hitter. He’s also on pace to hit the fewest homers of his career since his rookie season. He was also just placed on the 10-day IL, so adding to his total will depend on good health.