Blue Jays 2022 season preview: Projected lineup, rotation and four things to know as Matt Chapman joins club

After back-to-back ALCS journeys in 2015-16, the Blue Jays went backward in 2017 after which did a little bit of an on-the-fly rebuild. They solely gained 67 video games in 2019, however that already rotated to 91 in 2021. They missed the playoffs by one recreation final season, however there’s each motive to consider the arrow is fairly emphatically pointing upward north of the border. 

Actually, because the 2022 season approaches, this ought to be probably the most optimistic anybody has been concerning the Blue Jays in a long time. What’s to not like? They’ve star energy (tremendousstar energy, really), roster depth, veterans with playoff expertise, children simply “dumb” sufficient to not fear about stress and seemingly every part in between. 

Let’s verify them out. 

Win whole projection, odds

  • 2021 document: 91-71
  • 2022 SportsLine projection: 96-66
  • World Collection odds (by way of William Hill Sportsbook): 11-1

Projected lineup

  1. George Springer, CF
  2. Bo Bichette, SS
  3. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., 1B
  4. Teoscar Hernández, DH
  5. Matt Chapman, 3B
  6. Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., LF
  7. Randal Grichuk, RF
  8. Danny Jansen, C
  9. Cavan Biggio, 2B

Bench: C Alejandro Kirk, 1B Greg Chook, IF Santiago Espinal, OF Josh Palacios

Espinal may platoon with Biggio at second or simply win the job outright. One thing notable concerning the lineup if Epsinal is in there for Biggio? Each single hitter can be right-handed. Although Chook was a non-roster invite to spring coaching, this is among the causes I’ve included him on the roster. He is a lefty bat. 

It also needs to be famous this wasn’t actually an issue final season. The Jays’ OPS towards lefties was solely 12 factors increased than towards right-handers. 

Projected rotation

  1. RHP José Berríos
  2. RHP Kevin Gausman
  3. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
  4. RHP Alek Manoah
  5. LHP Yusei Kikuchi

Righty Ross Stripling will begin the season in bullpen, however he is positively an possibility for spot begins, ought to the necessity come up. In fact, there’s additionally Nate Pearson. We’ll get to him. 

Projected bullpen

Nearer: RHP Jordan Romano
Setup: RHP Adam Cimber, LHP Tim Mayza
Center: RHP Yimi García, RHP Trevor Richards, RHP Julian Merryweather, LHP Ryan Borucki, LHP Andrew Vasquez
Lengthy/spot starter: Stripling, RHP Trent Thornton

Proper-hander David Phelps figures to get a glance in some unspecified time in the future as effectively. 

Welcome Dwelling

Whereas 2020 was a tricky adjustment for everybody, the Blue Jays had been pressured to play their house video games in Buffalo of their Triple-A park. In 2021, they began off with 21 video games in Dunedin, their spring coaching facility, earlier than heading again to Buffalo’s Sahlen Area for 23 video games. They had been lastly capable of return to Toronto, for the primary time because the 2019 season, for his or her last 36 scheduled house video games of the 12 months.

The Blue Jays went 25-11 in Rogers Centre, outscoring their opponents 188-132, a tempo that noticed them taking part in like a 110-plus win workforce. Of their different “house” video games, they had been 22-22. 

Heading into 2022, there is not any unknown, lastly. The Blue Jays are going to get 81 video games in Rogers Centre. In trying forward, it seems the one workforce in Canada will deliver with it a lot stricter COVID protocols for opposing groups than anyplace else within the league. Maybe that even additional offers the Jays a bonus at house. 

They should not really want an additional push, although. They’re loaded.

Big offensive firepower

Regardless of their quasi-nomadic journey the previous two seasons, the Blue Jays have actually come into their very own as a fearsome offensive workforce. Final season, they ranked third within the AL in runs scored, fourth in doubles, second in common, third in on-base share, first in slugging, first in OPS and first in house runs. 

The Jays had seven gamers with at the least 20 homers and although Marcus Semien had a profession 12 months and is now with the Rangers, there’s lots motive to consider the offense will as soon as once more be among the finest in baseball. 

Guerrero flirted with profitable a triple crown and he was solely 22 years previous. Bichette is simply a 12 months older and simply led the AL in hits. In 234 profession video games, he has hit .301 with a .506 slugging and already seems like a perennial All-Star. There’s nothing fluky about both. Hernández is an unheralded however confirmed mid-prime cleanup hitter. Gurriel and Grichuk are able to being the most effective 6-7 combo in baseball, particularly from an influence perspective. 

Springer solely managed 78 video games final season, however when he performed he was a monster (143 OPS+, 19 2B, 22 HR, 50 RBI, 59 R). 

After which there’s new addition Matt Chapman. He completed seventh in AL MVP voting in 2018 and adopted that up with a sixth-place end in 2019. Final 12 months, he bottomed out to a .210/.314/.403 slash. He did handle 27 homers, nonetheless, however struck out 202 occasions in 529 at-bats. The excellent news is the hitting surroundings — not solely the distinction in house ballparks, but in addition the ballparks within the AL East vs. the AL West — is significantly better now. 

Additionally, Chapman noticed his 2020 season finish prematurely attributable to hip tendonitis and had labrum surgical procedure shortly thereafter. He is now a full season faraway from that. As he heads to his age-29 season in a greater state of affairs for hitters and sure in significantly better bodily form than 2020-21, guess on an enormous bounce-back. 

In all, it is a stellar lineup. 

Sturdy rotation, too

The AL Cy Younger winner was on the Blue Jays final 12 months, in Robbie Ray, and he now performs for the Mariners. But the Jays have sufficient expertise assembled within the rotation it is potential they do not even miss a proverbial beat. 

The unhealthy information is Ryu heads to his age-35 season and might need simply hit his decline part final season. Then once more, what if it was simply an off 12 months? He had a 2.30 ERA (179 ERA+) in his earlier three seasons mixed. It is not out of the realm of risk that he bounces again. 

Even when he would not, he is succesful to eat innings in the midst of a deep and gifted group. 

What may the Blue Jays’ pitching infrastructure that drew out Cy Younger Robbie Ray do for Gausman, Kikuchi or a full season of Berríos, who the Jays acquired final July? 

Gausman was a late bloomer, however there is not any doubt he is lengthy had the expertise to develop into a Cy Younger contender. Berríos has lengthy had ace upside — and is a two-time All-Star — however consistency has been a difficulty (it was for Ray, too, beforehand). Talking of which, Kikuchi had a star-like stretch final season (2.33 ERA in 11 begins from April 29-July 1), however inconsistency received him. 

Manoah, a 6-foot-6 beast of a right-hander, suffered the occasional meltdown final season, but in addition had eight begins out of 20 with at the least six innings and no a couple of run allowed. The Blue Jays gained 16 of his 20 begins. Not unhealthy for a rookie, huh? 

If the Jays must go previous these 5, Stripling is a really succesful spot starter, and there is additionally the potential with Pearson. 

Pearson, 25, was a top-10 prospect in all of baseball simply two years in the past. A sequence of accidents and sports activities hernia surgical procedure have slowed the hype practice on him, however there is a motive he was as soon as a first-round choose after which so closely hyped. We have seen him miss bats on the big-league stage, albeit in small samples. We all know he has the top-shelf stuff, most notably his high-90s heater. We have seen loads of gamers wait a 12 months or two after the hype fades earlier than their breakout. Maybe it is Pearson’s time in 2022? 

Regardless of the combine, the probabilities are good the Blue Jays have a well-above-average rotation all through the season. 

Time for the subsequent step?

The Blue Jays gained the World Collection in 1992 and 1993. They then did not make the playoffs once more till 2015. They received to the ALCS that season after which once more in 2016, however afterward it was again to lacking the playoffs. They did make it in 2020 as an eight seed, however had been out after two losses in two video games. The 91 wins final season present they’re clearly heading in the right direction, however it’s time for extra. They had been already on the best trajectory, however the entrance workplace has continued to make “win-now” strikes in a critical push to get again to the Fall Traditional. 

For now, making the playoffs most likely suffices, however in some unspecified time in the future, the Blue Jays want to interrupt via and there is at all times the fear that stress mounts if there occur to be a number of unsuccessful playoff runs. Possibly simply bust via now? 

It has been a very long time since taking the AL pennant. These Blue Jays are ok to get the job achieved in 2022 after which, as soon as once more, develop into World Collection champions. 


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