There are a myriad of opinions regarding how the Toronto Blue Jays have performed so far in 2023. However, the overriding sentiment is arguably that they have underachieved up to this point of the season.
Some might suggest this take to be unfair, considering the Blue Jays are playing in the toughest division in baseball. In fact so tough, that as of June 26 every team in the AL East has a winning record.
At the same time however, you have to also look at the Blue Jays' team payroll, which is seventh-highest in the Majors. While money isn't the be-all and end-all when it comes to roster quality -- with the Tampa Bay Rays as the main example of this -- it's still important.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Having said all that, there is a surprising statistic that has come to light, which if nothing else, will at least have people reconsidering what the Blue Jays have achieved. At least of late:
The above tweet will have likely had many people doing a double-take. And there's a good reason for this.
Consider that following the slate of games on June 26, the Blue Jays occupy fourth place in the AL East, 10.0 games back of the Rays. It doesn't sound particularly impressive in that respect.
In addition, go back to the MLB standings the day before May 26. On that date, the Blue Jays were last in their division and 10.5 games back of the Rays.
That's right. Despite having the best record in the AL since May 26, the Blue Jays have only moved up one place in the AL East and gained just half a game on the Rays.
Let's put this into context
Of course it's all about context. There have been some critics referencing that 17-11 isn't particularly impressive, instead alluding to how average the AL has performed as a whole since May 26.
This is an unreasonable take however, as over the course of a season a 17-11 record would project to 98-64. This would put the Blue Jays just one-win shy of what it took for the New York Yankees to clinch the AL East last year.
In other words, the win-rate since May 26 projected over an entire season would be more than enough to qualify for the playoffs. And really that's all that matters at the end of the day (while appreciating it's much more advantageous to qualify as a division winner).
Still on the subject of making the playoffs, this is the other thing to consider about the Blue Jays' record since May 26. As much as the movement in their division has been minimal they at least now sit in a wild card spot, whereas they didn't at the start of the period in question.
Overall, we appreciate this is a long season which still needs the Blue Jays to be consistent for a more sustained period of time. If nothing else though, at least they are taking steps in the right direction.