2023 Fantasy Baseball: Toronto Blue Jays Team Preview
Over the past two seasons, the Toronto Blue Jays have been excellent with 91 and 92 wins respectively. Despite everything, management has made several changes so that the team could take the next step. Obviously, the team is built around Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, but the changes made seem to fill obvious needs, including experience, left-handed hitters, a quality starting pitcher, and above all more maturity. On paper, this team can definitely win their division title. In reality, it will take the pieces falling into place, but the potential is enormous. Let's dissect the Toronto team, while expectations are very high not only for the 2023 season but also for the playoffs.
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The combination of veterans and young players is instrumental in success. Sometimes older players no longer have the same performance and they are more prone to injuries, but what they bring by sharing their experience has great value, which is difficult to calculate, but very real and instrumental. There are some looming questions that have been ignited with the arrival of the veterans. For instance, will Kevin Keirmaier play 150 games in 2023? The answer is no. But can Keirmaier help a Dalton Varsho develop and understand different situations? The answer is most certainly. Will Brandon Belt play 150 games in 2023? The answer is no, but can he support Vlad at 1st base and help some young hitters with their approaches? Once again the answer is yes.
Another benefit of seeing more veterans is the maturity of the team in general. There's a fine line between having fun and performing on the diamond. You should always have fun playing baseball but do so in an environment where everyone's responsibilities are taken seriously. This improved aspect of the game will greatly help this team.
Combination of Hitters
The Jays' offense has excelled in the past two seasons. However, if you have the choice of combining lefties and righties, it inevitably helps and can complicate the decisions of opposing managers. Especially considering the rule that a reliever must face a minimum of three batters. For example, if Belt hits in front of Matt Chapman late in the game when there are runners on base, Chapman will face a left-handed pitcher which is advantageous for him. Besides, if the Jays are using Varsho, Belt, and Keirmaier in the lineup, I wouldn't hate to see them separated in the offensive role. Also, since there will be no more suitable defenses in the infield, left-handed hitters will see more balls hit from the right side sneaking in for hits.
The arrival of Chris Bassitt is huge for the Jays. Without being a power thrower, Bassit has shown extraordinary consistency since the start of his career. He will complement Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, and Jose Berrios very well. In fact, Bassitt could end up as the team's 3rd starter due to Jose Berrios' performance last year and what we saw during the World Classic is uncertain. Experts believe Berrios can bounce back, but having a Bassitt in the lineup might minimize Berrios' problems. In fact, Bassitt is a solution, as is Yusei Kikuchi. Clearly, Kikuchi has worked hard over the winter to find solutions and is having an outstanding training camp so far. The quality of his arm has never been lacking, but if he throws strikes, he could definitely make a solid difference. The Jays would have a starting rotation equivalent if not better than their rivals in the AL East. Previously, the Blue Jays came up short in the season and playoffs mainly due to a lack of pitching, which is the reason behind addressing this crucial need.
Finally, the Jays have a great team. A great combination of young players and experienced players, power and speed, depth and versatility. More importantly, Manager John Schneider has added Don Mattingly to the coaching staff. Finally, the future is now for this team for many seasons to come.
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