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Prime free brokers Blue Jays ought to hope wind up outdoors the AL East

Contemplating the Toronto Blue Jays possess a robust core and cash to spend — in addition to some notable holes — the offseason forward presents fertile floor for rumours, hypothesis, and wishcasting.

There’ll justifiably be loads of consideration given to how this crew finds upgrades, however its fortunes may even be decided by how its AL East rivals do the identical. In any case, the Blue Jays completed behind three groups inside their division in 2021, which implies they’ve some leapfrogging to do in the event that they wish to attain their targets.

Not solely are the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox significantly value monitoring all through free company primarily based on the standard of the gamers they carry in, Blue Jays followers must also pay shut consideration to how these gamers mesh with Toronto’s strengths and weaknesses. The Yankees and Purple Sox in all probability gained’t be actively in search of Blue Jays killers this offseason, however they could properly discover them.

Listed here are a number of guys that could possibly be particularly damaging to the Blue Jays in the event that they wind up within the AL East:

Trevor Story

Age: 28

Place: SS

2021 stats:.251/.329/.471 with 24 HR in 595 PA, good for 3.5 WAR

Why he’s received Blue Jays killer potential: Story is a tough hitter to venture from right here on out as a result of his manufacturing has slipped lately, and it’s laborious to know the way he’ll fare with out the advantage of hitting at Coors Area. He’ll in all probability be above-average offensively, however not sufficient to strike worry into Blue Jays followers – even when his energy isn’t any joke.

The place Story could possibly be an issue if he turned up in Yankee pinstripes, as an example, is his defence. Since he broke into the league his +69 DRS ranks third amongst all shortstops, whereas his UZR of +15.4 ranks eighth. Statcast’s Outs Above Common is far and wide along with his work rating him as excessive as 99th percentile and as little as 4th percentile at his place on a season-to-season foundation, however the basic consensus is that he can decide it.

The Blue Jays’ lineup figures to stay predominantly right-handed in 2022, and Story might take hits away on the left aspect of the infield, particularly from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who will get greater than his fair proportion of knocks on blazing-fast grounders. Story has the flexibility to soak these up, as he confirmed on this 112.3 mph Renato Nuñez sizzler:

Additionally, Story is an elite runner who might decide on a Blue Jays’ catching corps that caught a mediocre 22 % of base stealers final 12 months — and will see that quantity decline as Reese McGuire will get much less enjoying time. The shortstop wouldn’t be enjoyable for the Blue Jays to see 19 occasions a 12 months.

Marcus Semien

Age: 31

Place: SS/2B

2021 stats: .265/.334/.538 with 45 HR in 595 PA, good for six.6 WAR

Why he’s received Blue Jays killer potential: Dropping Semien could be an enormous blow to the Blue Jays no matter the place he goes, however the added sting is that he’s significantly well-equipped to harm the membership he was an MVP finalist for in 2021.

Final season, the star infielder refined his method in a Jose Bautista-like method by specializing in pulling as many fly balls as humanly attainable. The outcome was a season by which he completely peppered left area with hits and ranked fifth amongst certified hitters in pull proportion (51.3 per cent):

That’s notable from a Blue Jays perspective as a result of left area initiatives to be their biggest defensive weak spot. Regardless of a puzzling point out as a Gold Glove finalist, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has poor vary out in left. In his two years as a full-time outfielder his Dash Velocity has by no means risen above the forty first percentile and his Outs Above Common have by no means crawled above the 14th. His sturdy and correct arm makes up for a few of his points, however a man like Semien may gain advantage from his presence on the market – when he’s not clearing the wall altogether.

Max Scherzer

Age: 37

Place: RP

2021 stats: 11.84 Ok/9, 1.81 BB/9, 1.15 HR/9 with a 2.46 ERA and a couple of.97 FIP in 179.1 innings, good for five.4 WAR

Why he’s received Blue Jays killer potential: Scherzer is a killer, interval, and no fanbase desires to see him present up of their division. That’s significantly true for the Blue Jays due to the way in which he handles right-handed hitters.

Final season he held righties to a .177/.211/.330 line with 128 strikeouts in opposition to simply 10 walks, a stage of dominance solely matched by Corbin Burnes. The veteran’s slider is a devastating pitch, and he’s not afraid to dabble in right-on-right changeups to maintain same-handed hitters off his fastball. A lineup centred round George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Bo Bichette, and Guerrero Jr. could be in powerful in opposition to Scherzer and the final time he confronted the Blue Jays — in 2020 once they had an identical core — he held them to 3 hits and no runs over 7.1 innings.

Past the platoon splits, Scherzer has made himself at dwelling in his comparatively few journeys to Rogers Centre. His ERA there (2.16) is his third-best in any stadium by which he’s pitched at the very least 5 occasions and his Ok/BB ratio (42:6) is actually absurd. It’s in all probability all small-sample noise, nevertheless it’s attainable the mound in Toronto fits him properly for no matter motive.

Kendall Graveman

Age: 30

Place: RP

2021 stats: 9.80 Ok/9, 3.21 BB/9, 0.48 HR/9 with a 1.77 ERA and three.19 FIP in 56 innings, good for 1.1 WAR

Why he’s received Blue Jays killer potential: After utterly committing to a reduction function for the primary time in 2021, Graveman noticed his velocity spike and have become a late-inning power.

He’s on this checklist for a similar motive as Verlander, broadly talking, as a result of he completely erased right-handers along with his newfound energy sinker-slider combo on the way in which to permitting a .117/.222/.126 line in opposition to them. Out of the 117 righties to face Graveman in 2021, only one received an extra-bases hit, and that knock was this slashing 87 mph liner that hardly stayed in bounds:

The truth that Graveman will get righties isn’t the one concern he’d current as a divisional opponent for the Blue Jays, it’s how he will get them. The high-leverage reliever makes use of his 96.6 mph sinker 62.8 per cent of the time, and whereas Toronto hits fastballs properly, they’re much higher in opposition to four-seamers.

In 2021, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer had been the highest two fastball hitters per 100 pitches based on Statcast’s run worth metric. Towards sinkers, they didn’t crack the leaderboard. Whenever you take a look at final 12 months’s Blue Jays (who’re underneath contract for 2022) the bulk had been extra weak in opposition to sinking fastballs than four-seamers on a per/100 pitch foundation final season:

Though Biggio seems like a half-decent matchup for Graveman, a lot of this crew’s lineup could be much better off avoiding a pitcher who ties right-handers in knots by pounding sinkers that run like this:

The previous Toronto prospect has severe Blue Jays killer potential, in addition to Blue Jays’ goal enchantment.

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