The 10 most important Blue Jays players heading into the 2023 regular season
By Eric Treuden
6. C Alejandro Kirk
Obviously, Kirk, who exploded onto the scene last year with an All-Star Game appearance and Silver Slugger Award, is going to be important to this team. He hit 11 home runs with 37 RBI with a .315 average in the first half of last season, easily cementing his name into the conversation of best catcher in the league.
However, his second half results were much, much less exciting. In 56 games, he hit just three home runs with 26 RBI and had a .246 average. It seems that Kirk may have had troubles with durability down the stretch and began to be affected by fatigue, so it will be interesting to see how he holds up in what will be his second straight season as the Blue Jays' primary catcher.
The presence of Danny Jansen will allow Kirk to get some additional breathers as the season marches on. They are to be viewed as 1 and 1A behind the plate and are exepcted to roughly split the time 50/50 in the regular season.
5. RHP José Berríos
There is perhaps no player on the roster more in need of a bounceback season than the 28-year-old Berríos. He put in a ton of hard work over the offseason in an effort to return to his ace-like performances he had with the Twins, so it will be a major storyline throughout the year to see how he fares.
The reason Berríos ranks so high on this list is because he is capable of greatness if he can utilize the potential he has shown over the years. If he, along with Yusei Kikuchi, can improve even slightly on their poor performances last year, the Blue Jays will suddenly have a lethal one-through-five in the starting rotation. Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman are workhorses who are sure to produce, while Chris Bassitt is another true veteran in the middle of the rotation. Now, it's time for someone like Berríos to step up and show that last season was a fluke.