Predicting the five Blue Jays with the highest OPS+ in 2023

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) is the sum of a player's on-base percentage and their slugging percentages. OPS+ (On-base Plus Slugging Plus) is an advanced metric which adjusts a players’ OPS for variables such as ballpark factors, putting it on a scale where an OPS+ of 100 is league average. Each number above or below 100 would be one percentage above or below league average. This deep Jays lineup has lots of good hitters, but here are my predictions for the Blue Jays with the highest OPS+ in 2023.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is one of the best hitters in the entire league, translating to a high career OPS+ of 135 (35 percent above league average). In 2021, Guerrero led the American League in OPS+ at 167, and over the past two seasons he’s hit 80 home runs with a slash line of .292/.370/.539/.908 and a 150 OPS+. Even as a 20-year-old rookie before he evolved into the perennial MVP candidate that he is now, Guerrero’s OPS+ was above the league average at 106. There are few players in the world that hit the ball harder than Guerrero, and his career .358 OBP proves he has the ability to reach base as well. There is no reason why he couldn’t be amongst the league leaders in OPS+ again this season. Prediction: 137 OPS+.

George Springer

George Springer has been one of the most consistent hitters since entering the league in 2014 with the Houston Astros. Owning a career slash line of .269/.358/.494/.851 with a 132 OPS+, Springer provides elite production as a leadoff hitter, and has only been slowed down by injuries. When healthy, you know exactly what you’re getting from the former World Series MVP, and he should remain atop the American League leaderboard in several offensive categories. As a Blue Jay, Springer has played in 211 games and owns an .848 OPS and 135 OPS+. Springer is a premier hitter and his consistency will keep him amongst the team’s top five OPS+ in 2023. Prediction: 130 OPS+

Bo Bichette

After his first two full seasons in the majors, Bo Bichette has led the American League in base hits both times, and has finished in the top 12 of American League MVP votes. Owning an OPS of .815 and an OPS+ of 124 in those two seasons, Bichette is a premier shortstop in this league with elite offensive production. Though his first two seasons with the Blue Jays were both smaller sample sizes, the 2021 All-Star has always been at least 21 percent above league average in OPS+. Bichette has struggled with his discipline at the plate at times early into his young career, but he’s still only 25-years-old and there is reason to believe that he still hasn’t hit his peak. A very streaky hitter, Bichette is almost unstoppable when he’s hot. Bo should be amongst the league leaders in base hits again, and produce at a very high level. Prediction: 125 OPS+

Alejandro Kirk

Alejandro Kirk’s first full season in the majors saw him selected to the All-Star Game, and winning the Silver Slugger Award for the catcher position in the American League. Kirk’s discipline is his best tool as he reaches base safely at an incredible rate while limiting his strikeout rate to just 10.8 percent (22.1 percent league average). He does not possess impressive power, but he still cracked 14 home runs with 19 doubles in 2022, and has the potential for further production. Following up a strong first full season, Kirk should produce similarly as he is still firmly in the meat of the lineup and possesses excellent discipline and bat-to-ball skills. Prediction: 118 OPS+

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman is mostly regarded as one of the best defensive 3rd baseman in the entire league, but he is also a great hitter that gets overlooked by the incredible talent around him in the lineup. He does strike out 27.4% of the time, leaving his batting average to suffer, but his career .329 OBP is serviceable. The two-time Platinum Glove Award winner is more of a power hitter as he’s hit 138 home runs throughout his six year career. His lowest full season OPS+ was exactly league average during his final season with the Oakland Athletics, while his highest was 137 in 2018. Chapman is good for about 25 home runs and a .330 OBP, which should translate to the team’s top five in OPS+. Prediction: 115 OPS+

Other hitters that should produce solid OPS+ include Whit Merrifield and Danny Jansen, who each had a strong OPS+ a season ago, but don’t have the consistency of the five mentioned above.

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