The 10 most important Blue Jays players heading into the 2023 regular season
By Eric Treuden
8. 3B Matt Chapman
Chapman, 29, is going to be an integral part of this year's Blue Jays club. 2023 is also going to be perhaps the most important of his career so far, as he is a pending free agent and will need to perform at a high level if he is to secure a major payday next offseason.
Chapman has a ton of pop in his bat and gives the Jays some of the best defense at third base that the club has ever seen. He draws walks, strikes out a bit too much and is virtually a vacuum over at the hot corner.
Again, he is an upcoming free agent, so the pressure is sky-high for him. If we're being truthful here, he is unlikely to remain on the club past the upcoming season, mostly thanks to the emergence(s) of Addison Barger and Orelvis Martinez, two third base-capable prospects who are nearing major league ready. Chapman is likely going to be on his A-game as he looks to cash in next year, so his production will be crucial to this club.
7. OF Daulton Varsho
Speaking of high expectations, Varsho is going to be under a microscope for the majority of the upcoming season, especially right at the start. The 26-year-old cost an arm a leg to acquire via trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks (Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.) and will be under a microscope as fans expect him to double his production from last season.
With Kevin Kiermaier aboard, the Blue Jays plan to slot Varsho in at left field on an everyday basis. He will also get starts in center and right field, but he is going to primarily play left. He became one of the best defensive outfielders in the game after transitioning from catcher to the grass. Last year, he put up 2.0 Defensive Wins Above Replacement and swung a hot bat too, hitting 27 home runs with a 109 OPS+. It is imperative that he becomes the player the Blue Jays need him to be.