The Blue Jays need to get their 'big two' going if there's going to be any hope

Vladdy and Bo will need to kick it up a notch if the Blue Jays hope to contend this year
Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Plainly put, the start of the Blue Jays' 2024 season has been lacklustre. With injured relievers, inconsistent starts and a lack of offence, it seems that this team's once-strong championship hopes are beginning to oh-so-slowly dwindle. While the start of the year always brings some kind of adversity, the Blue Jays will have to start performing like a playoff team if they hope to contend in them, and that begins with their two stars: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.

There have been a slew of issues to start the Jays' 2024 season. Top relievers Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson began the season on the IL and a once-prized rotation is pitching to bottom-ten ERA of 4.76. But perhaps the worst of all, the Blue Jays haven't been able to swing the bats. Coming 18th in team wRC+ with 94 (6% below league-average), the once young, dynamic core is once again continuing to show its struggles.

Expectations couldn't have been higher for Vladdy after he had an explosive spring training, complete with incredible batted-ball data from the year before. He has a few home runs to start, but other than that it's been a rough go for the former top prospect. As it stands, Guerrero is slashing .200/.322/.420 with a 20.3 K%, the highest of his career. Bichette isn't looking much better, as he's hitting .205/.286/.364, good for a wRC+ of only 91, nine points below league-average.

Regrettably, the past two offseasons have brought its fair share of offensive losses. Ross Atkins traded away fan-favourites Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez in the 2022 offseason and more recently lost Matt Chapman and Brandon Belt in free agency. To compensate, Atkins opted to re-sign Kevin Kiermaier and hire utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa; both defence-first players with traditionally poor hitting stats.

The one player he's brought in to hit is Justin Turner. Turner has had an explosive start to the year and is easily the team's best hitter right now, batting to a monstrous wRC+ of 196 complete with six doubles. And while this production is certainly needed, it is nowhere near sustainable. Turner has traditionally been a good hitter, but he is 39 and injury prone; he will face some regression come May. Turner has been a good cushion for a struggling lineup thus far, but he can't carry the team forever.

While the blame can be placed on everyone not named Justin Turner, the focus should be shifted to the two youngsters - and arguably, leaders - of the team. Guerrero and Bichette are both young and have been historically healthy. They have combined for five All-Star appearances in their tenures and both have had multiple years with MVP votes. They should be the ones to rely upon, as they were important catalysts in the current team's success. With other sluggers such as George Springer and Alejandro Kirk also facing their series of hitting woes, it is more urgent than ever that Guerrero and Bichette start stepping up. The 2024 season will bring its fair share of hardships and unpredictability, but it can be averted if the two Jays stars don't start hitting soon.