HomeTeamsBlue JaysThe Major Problem With The Top Third Of The Blue Jays Order

The Major Problem With The Top Third Of The Blue Jays Order

The Toronto Blue Jays have a glaring issue with their hitting game, which is quite apparent to anyone who watches them play. Their collective OPS+ of 95 (19th Overall), ranking 20th in Home Runs (28), and 26th in team Batting Average (.225) are not mere numbers, but alarming indicators of the team’s struggle at the plate.

If you are a regular visitor of Baseball Reference (and if you are reading this, I am guessing that you are), you can quickly notice the significant names missing from the team page’s top 12 in bWAR. This is a worrying sign for the team, and except for the player in the 12th spot, none of the other players there are two big names missing.   As for that 12th player, his rank, too, is a red flag.

As of May 3, the top 12 are:

1. Daulton Varsho: 1.9

2. Jose Berrios: 1.7

3.  Isiah Kiner-Falefa: 0.9

4.  Justin Turner: 0.8

5.  Ernie Clement: 0.7

6.  Danny Jansen: 0.7

7.  Yimi Garcia: 0.6

8.  Yusei Kikuchi: 0.6

9.  Davis Schneider: 0.5

10.Cavan Biggio: 0.3

11. Alejandro Kirk: 0.3

12. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 0.2

We know that bWAR encompasses defence, but if we went purely by offence, the suspects that we are looking for would be absent.

Those two?   George Springer and Bo Bichette.

I group these two, along with Vladimir Guerrero, who forms the top third of the order.  The concept of the batting order has evolved significantly since my baseball coming of age in the 1980s (though nothing can convince me that Kyle Schwarber is a suitable leadoff man) but the men who bat 1-2-3 are the ones who we know scientifically will have the most opportunities.  This means that your best batters (obviously) will be in the top third.  So far, we haven’t seen that.

Guerrero is the best of the three, which we all expected him to be; but what exactly does this mean?  Vladdy finally worked his way back to an OPS+ of 100, which is average for any MLB player, but pitiful for an American League East First Baseman.  I have said, and I know, along with other Blue Jays fans, we want him to be our offensive superstar, but save for that MVP-caliber year in 2021, he hasn’t been. 

Guerrero Jr. was the American League MVP runner-up in 2021, the 16th-place finisher in 2022, and off the ballot in 2022.  At age 25, this should be his prime period, but he has already dealt with weight and injury problems.  The owner of the best smile in baseball makes us love him, but if a mid-20-something First Baseman continues to decline, what do we have?  With that said, he is the best of the top third.

Leading the top of the order is George Springer, a four-time All-Star and World Series Champion with the Houston Astros in 2017.  Approaching 35, Springer has been terrible this year with 3 Home Runs, 3 Stolen Bases and a .17 OPS, which is by far his lowest OPS of the year.  Is Springer done?  We don’t know, but this can’t continue on leadoff for the next 30 days.

With Springer aging and Guerrero convulsing, the biggest star left is Bo Bichette, the son of Dante Bichette, and the man who led the AL in Hits in 2021 and 2022 and has never finished the year with an OPS+ under 120.  He currently has an anemic OPS+ of 62 with a .205 Batting Average and only one Home Run.  His performance, which has led to a negative bWAR thus far, is disastrous for any team trying to reach October baseball. 

There are no other players that the Jays can substitute that give them a viable top this.  This is who we have, and if they can awaken from their slumber, Toronto is a contender.  If they don’t, my beer can is less full and we will review the season from sub-.500.

Until then, touch them all!

Kirk Buchner
Kirk Buchner
Owner/Operator at the Notinhalloffame.com network @notinhalloffame


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