2020-07-09 18:00:00 EDT
The Toronto Blue Jays don’t have very many expectations going into the shortened 2020 MLB season.
Toronto is coming off an ugly 67-95 record in 2019, which left the team in fourth place in the American League East ahead of only Baltimore. In 2020, the Blue Jays will try to crank that winning percentage up a few notches while trying to regain relevance in the division. Check back all season long for free MLB picks and MLB predictions at Sports Chat Place.
Let’s take a closer look at Toronto’s current status and break down the team’s chances at hitting their projected win total this season.
There’s not much to like about the Blue Jays’ 2019 campaign. Toronto finished 36 games back of a 103-win New York team, representing the lower level of the division along with an Orioles squad that only won 54 games. Toronto went 8-11 against both the Red Sox and Yankees, which isn’t too bad, but the Jays also had a 6-13 record against Tampa Bay. Meager records versus beatable teams like the White Sox (3-4), Tigers (4-3) and Mariners (2-4) didn’t help either. All in all, it was a lost season for Toronto.
Moving on to 2020, there are some opportunities to be had for the Blue Jays, but also a lot of potential pitfalls. Toronto will be playing 40 AL East games this year; 10 each versus the Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox and Rays. In addition to that, the Jays also get a 20-game slate versus the National League East, and that’s a rough draw. The Braves, Nationals, Mets and Phillies should all field pretty competitive teams, and that’s not great news for a Toronto squad that’s trying to gain a few wins.
The Blue Jays’ main strength is a solid-looking lineup on paper. There’s not a ton of heavy-hitting names, but front to back it’s a well-rounded group. Bo Bichette will lead things off and try for a breakout season; he’s got the potential for 30 runs, 30 RBI, 10 homers and 10 steals this year, which would be pretty impressive. Guys like Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, Travis Shaww, Lourdes Gurriel, Vladimir Guerrero and Cavan Biggio each have the capabilities for double-digit homers as well. There’s a lot of run potential with these players, but the glaring weakness is batting average. Inconsistency is going to become an issue.
In any case, Toronto will trot out Hyun-Jin Ryu as their number-one pitching arm. In reality Ryu is probably the only starter on the roster with the potential for a sub-4.00 ERA. Behind him are Chase Anderson, Tanner Roark and Matt Shoemaker. All solid names who can eat up innings, but not exactly a dream scenario for the top part of a team’s starting rotation. Still, if those guys can get run support and keep games manageable there will be some victories out there for the Blue Jays’ taking.
Pick: I’m going under. It’s rough to be so pessimistic with a struggling team, but I don’t think this is going to be the Blue Jays’ year. There’s some power in the lineup, but not enough consistency for it to matter. Same with the pitching; it’s going to be wildly uneven. Considering Toronto has some tough matchups ahead versus teams like the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Braves, Nationals, etc. I don’t see the Jays winning more than 25 games or so in 2020.