Seven Blue Jays players rank inside ESPN's top 100, time to go out there and show why

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

ESPN recently released their top 100 players in MLB for the 2023 season and the Blue Jays had the third most representatives among all teams with seven. While it's great to have outlets giving praise to the team, what really matters is what they get done this upcoming season. That being said, here are all the players who made it and their rankings.

No. 16: 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Jays' highest-ranked player was, unsurprisingly, Guerrero. He;s also the third-highest ranking first baseman, behind only Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt. In ESPN's prediction, they had him hitting 40 homers with over 100 RBI, and an average in the high .290s, a season that all Blue Jays should be more than happy with. If he can get closer to his 2021 form, which they seem to project him to do, expect him to be even higher in future rankings.

No. 49: SS Bo Bichette

It took a little while for the next Blue Jay to show up, but Bichette was able to crack the top 50 as the seventh-highest shortstop. After his red-hot end to the 2022 season, ESPN thinks he could put up at least 6.0 WAR in a fully healthy 2023, with his bat doing most of the work. As Blue Jays' fans are well aware, his fielding is where he'll need to improve this season, but there's no questioning his potential at the plate.

No. 51: SP Alek Manoah

Just two spots after the last Blue Jay sits 2022 Cy Young finalist, Alek Manoah. Manoah ranks right behind other young arms like Julio Urías and Spencer Strider, and despite not making the top 50, ESPN still has high expectations for him. One of their writers predicts that Manoah will pitch over 200 innings in 2023 en route to his first career Cy Young. There's no doubt that he has the potential to put that type of season together, but he could have a bit of a target on his back after his breakout 2022.

No. 63: OF George Springer

Despite battling injuries in 2022, Springer still managed to be an offensive force in his second season with the Jays. ESPN has Springer right in between center fielders Bryan Reynolds and Byron Buxton, and while he won't be seeing as much time there in 2023, it's clear that he's still viewed as one of the best outfielders in the game. In their prediction for him, ESPN anticipates some health problems but expect him to play a big role when he's needed most in October.

No. 82: 3B Matt Chapman

The two-time Platinum Glove winner has been a popular pick to have a big 2023, and ESPN believes that he'll put up a great season before he hits free agency. His elite defense should always make him a plus player, but if he could reach his offensive highs of 2018-19, he could be a truly elite player. Chapman may be the Blue Jay with the most to gain this upcoming season, and Jays fans would love to see him live up to that potential and maybe play his way into a longer deal with the club.

No. 85: SP Kevin Gausman

After an outstanding 2021 with the Giants, Gausman was great in his first season with the Blue Jays, posting a 3.35 ERA in 174+ innings. ESPN believes that with the Jays' improved defense, Gausman's raw numbers could begin to reflect his league-leading FIP more and help re-establish him as one of baseball's best starters.

No. 93: OF Daulton Varsho

The final Blue Jay on the list is the only one who's never played a regular season game with the team. Varsho was the big acquisition of the offseason for Toronto, and ESPN expects him to be an impact player from the get-go. While their prediction has him remaining a relatively average hitter, they expect his elite defense to carry him to a WAR around 5.0, which would be a great start to his time in Toronto.

Since these rankings are based entirely on opinions, there's plenty of room for discussion and they're far from perfect, but it's always nice to see some Blue Jays among the league's best. Arguments could be made for a player like Alejandro Kirk to make the list, but it's ultimately what they get done this season that matters.

Next. Manoah vs. Gausman, who should start Opening Day?. dark