HomeTeamsBlue JaysVarsho Pacing Blue Jays’ Offense. Who Would Have Predicted That?

Varsho Pacing Blue Jays’ Offense. Who Would Have Predicted That?

When you look at the Toronto Blue Jays lineup, but not at the current hitting statistics, one assumes the leaders on offence would be names like Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer.

The 13-10 Jays ramp up for Game 2 in their series in Kansas City against the 13-10 Royals tonight (7:40 p.m. EST game time, with Kevin Gausman starting for the Jays, Michael Wacha for the Royals). The Jays find themselves 2.5 games out of first in the American League East.

It’s early in the season, so no one is jumping to conclusions about Guerrero Jr., Bichette and Springer – the top of the lineup. Bichette had a massive triple in last night’s 5-3 win over the Royals, driving in three runs, and is hitting .241 now. He seems to be finding his stride at the plate, which most people predicted.

Guerrero had a hit and scored a run last night, is currently hitting .230, with three homeruns and nine RBIs. He seems to still be finding his way at the plate. Much more needs to come though from Springer – hitting .198, two HRs, 4 RBIs, .291 slugging percentage, .594% OPS.

No, it’s been Daulton Varsho that’s been the story on offence – as last night’s 406-foot, towering two-run home run against the Royals, in the sixth inning, was further proof of.

Lots has been written about how hard Varsho worked on his hitting in the off-season (the outfielder told Sportsnet he was trying to lift the baseball in 2023, that he was getting underneath the ball, hitting too many fly balls, missing pitches and fouling them back), how he has completely bought into the new process – having adjusted his swing, swinging at good pitches. All six of Varsho’s homeruns this season have come in the past six games – his season OPS is now .881., with a .246 average.

What’s going to boost the other guys in the lineup? We’re looking at the return of Toronto native Joey Votto, who is still recovering from an ankle sprain sustained during spring training (he still hasn’t face live pitching in his recovery). Yes, he’s 40, but remember his homerun in his one spring training game – off the first pitch he faced.

Votto is a Hall of Fame lock  – 356 career homeruns, a .294 career batting average, .409 OBP, .920 OPS.

Votto, free agent signee Justin Turner, who like Varsho has filled the void and is pacing the offence (.299, two HRs, 11 RBIs, .895 OPS so far), plus Don Mattingly, the Jays’ offensive co-ordinator, is like having three guys with PHDs in hitting around your team. You can’t under-estimate the impact of that.

Varsho is also leading the Jays with elite-level defence – he’s third in MLB in WAR (Wins Above Replacement – measured a player’s value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at his same position) at 1.6, behind the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts (2.2) and the Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte (1.8).

The Jays actually have three centrefielders manning their outfield now  – Varsho, Springer and Kevin Kiermaier. Having three skilled outfielders boosts a pitcher’s confidence, allowing them to focus on filling the zone and inducing swings.

The Jays’ success so far has been solid defence, elite starting pitching and a scrappy offence led by Varsho.

Is that a recipe for success over a long season though?


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