It’s that time again! All of us here at BP Toronto have dusted off our crystal balls and attempted to predict the future of the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays. Qualms? Questions? Comments? Be sure to let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below.
Record in 2017
Andrew Munn – 89-73 – They may very well have replaced everyone that they lost.
Bennett Brauer – 81-81 - Perfectly average.
Dave Church – 83-79 - Still in the mix, but more second wildcard than first.
Elie Waitzer – 84-78 – The lack of depth at most positions scares me.
Evan Peaslee – 88-74 – Arguably the best rotation in the AL won’t be enough if the offense doesn’t improve on 2016.
Gideon Turk – 91-71 – This number would be higher if Francisco Liriano had any track record of throwing innings.
Greg Wisniewski – 85-77 – This team isn’t getting any younger, and the division isn’t getting any easier.
Jenn Smith – 90-72 – The team underachieved last season and Liriano should an upgrade to an already solid rotation.
Joshua Howsam – 87-75 - I actually think this year’s team could be even better than last year’s, but the division’s tougher.
Kyle Matte – 92-70 – Best record in the AL East; third straight trip to the postseason.
Matt Gwin – 66-90 – If you’re clever, you’ll realize that this record is missing 6 games and isn’t really a record at all.
Michael Passador – 90-72 – The bullpen won’t be as terrible as it was early in 2016, which should offset offensive losses.
Nick Dika – 86-76 – With the team in the hunt, beer lineups will again be unbearably long at the Rogers Centre.
Rachael McDaniel – 87-75 – Like last year, but less good.
Sean Addis – 91-71 – A full year from Liriano and break out year from Stroman will make for happy Jays fans.
Tammy Rainey – 93-69 – Last year I was the most optimistic about the team and that hasn’t changed.
Best Position Player
Andrew Munn – Josh Donaldson – All hail our Viking Lord.
Bennett Brauer – Josh Donaldson - This award should be named after him.
Dave Church – Josh Donaldson – The best player on the team by a mile.
Elie Waitzer – Josh Donaldson – Have you seen his calves in tight socks?
Evan Peaslee – Josh Donaldson – This isn’t even close.
Gideon Turk – Kevin Pillar – Improved plate discipline and stellar defense? That’s a 7 win player.
Greg Wisniewski – Josh Donaldson – Is there really anybody who even comes close on both sides of the ball?
Jenn Smith – Josh Donaldson – I don’t need to tell you why.
Joshua Howsam – Josh Donaldson – I wanted to go with Joey Bats here, but the new .400+ OBP Donaldson is unfair.
Kyle Matte – Josh Donaldson – Unsurprisingly, Josh will be team MVP, but Jose Bautista will provide more offense.
Matt Gwin – Dalton Pompey – He had a .950 OPS in AA in 2015 and probably saves stranded cats in trees.
Michael Passador – Josh Donaldson – I’ll offer up Kendrys Morales as Best Position Player given expectations.
Nick Dika – Josh Donaldson – You know why.
Rachael McDaniel – Josh Donaldson – A controversial opinion, I know.
Sean Addis – Josh Donaldson- Get your umbrellas ready! It will be an extended rainy season.
Tammy Rainey – Josh Donaldson – You have to go with Josh until someone passes him by.
Andrew Munn – Marcus Stroman – Starting for USA in the WBC finals means he’s the best American pitcher, right?
Bennett Brauer – Marcus Stroman - He will prove the haters wrong and step up BIGly.
Dave Church – J.A. Happ – We’ll yawn through six innings and two runs a night from this guy.
Elie Waitzer – Aaron Sanchez - With the innings talk behind him, Sanchez will truly be dirty.
Evan Peaslee – Marco Estrada – He won’t overpower hitters but he’s the best on the team.
Gideon Turk – Marcus Stroman – He’s blocked all the haters, so now he can just focus on shoving.
Greg Wisniewski – Roberto Osuna – I know we all love the starters, but Roberto deserves some love too.
Jenn Smith – Marcus Stroman – Dude’s going to pitch like he’s got something to prove.
Joshua Howsam – Marco Estrada - I have to stay true to my brand and he’s also apparently healthy again. #ACEstrada
Kyle Matte – Francisco Liriano – The bigger question will be if Frank finally reaches the 200 inning plateau.
Matt Gwin – Dalton Pompey – I’m betting he picked up a nasty knuckleball while warming the bench with R.A. Dickey.
Michael Passador - Marcus Stroman - I’m a member of Team Sanchez but I’m going all in on #StruttinStroman.
Nick Dika – Marco Estrada – Blowin’ 88-mph gas by the rest of the AL East since 2015.
Rachael McDaniel – Marcus Stroman – He got Migos glasses, there’s no way he’s losing.
Sean Addis – Francisco Liriano – He will continue his renaissance with Russell Martin.
Tammy Rainey – Francisco Liriano – On statistical value, Sanchez might slightly exceed him due to IP.
Breakout Player of the Year
Andrew Munn – Mike Bolsinger – Not a breakout as a starter, but he might Biagini his way through the bullpen.
Bennett Brauer – Ezequiel Carrera. He will wrestle away the starting LF job and call it his own, à la Pillar 2015.
Dave Church – Dalton Pompey – He’ll get his shot in the outfield eventually, and he’ll run with it.
Elie Waitzer – Casey Lawrence - With no clear sixth starter, Lawrence will dazzle in a spot start and log over 50 IP.
Evan Peaslee – Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Martin needs more time off and Salty will impress with more reps.
Gideon Turk – Kevin Pillar- #7WinPlayer
Greg Wisniewski – Tim Mayza – A 25 year old LHP who throws 99mph? Sign me up when a bullpen arm goes down.
Jenn Smith – Steve Pearce – His injury woes will be gone, thanks to the Jays’ new high performance department.
Joshua Howsam – Devon Travis – He’s going to “break” the “out” with injury streak and have a great, healthy year.
Kyle Matte – Kendrys Morales – He’ll get voted to All Star Team as the Royals fans forget he’s gone.
Matt Gwin – Dalton Pompey – It’s hard to argue against a two-way player.
Michael Passador – Steve Pearce – Pearce kicks the injury bug and plays 120+ games all over the field.
Nick Dika – Justin Smoak - If the front office is right about Smoak, it won’t be just the Cardinals trying to hack the Jays.
Rachael McDaniel – Dalton Pompey – The Jose-lookalike beard is a sign of things to come.
Sean Addis – Steve Pearce – He will get regular at bats at first base and left field. Time to shine.
Tammy Rainey – Dalton Pompey – It might be June before they give him a full shot, but I still believe.
Comeback Player of the Year
Andrew Munn – Melvin Upton Jr. – Give him a stable situation and let him prove Atlanta was the anomaly.
Bennett Brauer – Marcus Stroman - Last year he wasn’t at his best. He’ll be top of the rotation caliber.
Dave Church – Jose Bautista – I’m guessing he’s taken the talk of his decline personally.
Elie Waitzer – Jose Bautista – Baltimore Orioles beware.
Evan Peaslee – Aaron Loup – A Loup breakout would stabilize the Jays’ bullpen and he might be healthy enough to do it.
Gideon Turk – Jose Bautista – The King doesn’t stay down for a long time. He’ll be big.
Greg Wisniewski – Russell Martin – Find your patience and your throwing arm again, Russell, and you’ll win!
Jenn Smith – Jose Bautista – Whether or not you buy that Bautista plays best angry, he’s going to have a helluva season.
Joshua Howsam – Jose Bautista – It’s silly that he’s even eligible for this, but he’s going to be a monster.
Kyle Matte – Russell Martin – With a capable backup, Martin will get more rest and will rebound as a result.
Matt Gwin – Dalton Pompey – It’s tough to be an All-Star OFer when you’re forced to play in AAA. That’ll change.
Michael Passador – Dalton Pompey – Pompey will boot Uptrrera from LF and stick it to those who wrote him off.
Nick Dika – Troy Tulowitzki - He didn’t forgo a childhood and train 18 hours a day to be counted out at 32.
Rachael McDaniel – Jose Bautista – No comment necessary. He’s back.
Sean Addis – Jose Bautista – He has something to prove and we know what that means!
Tammy Rainey – Troy Tulowitzki – Tulo still has (at least) one more .850+ OPS season left in him.
Andrew Munn – Darwin Barney – It’s a pretty good year when the biggest bust is your backup second baseman.
Bennett Brauer – Melvin Upton - Even though his real cost is small, baseball isn’t for him anymore.
Dave Church – Marco Estrada – He had a concerning stretch at the end of last season and that could continue.
Elie Waitzer – Rowdy Tellez - He’s looked completely overmatched this spring. If he gets a shot, expect the hype to die.
Evan Peaslee – Kendrys Morales – He has huge shoes to fill. He won’t replace Edwin and that’s what everyone’s hoping.
Gideon Turk – Jason Grilli – He’s old. I’m told that old age isn’t conducive to being good at baseball.
Greg Wisniewski – Left Field – A big hole will open and swallow up whoever is standing out there too long.
Jenn Smith – Justin Smoak – This is an easy pick. Nothing we’ve seen suggests that Smoak can be an everyday player.
Joshua Howsam – Aaron Sanchez – Expectations for him are so high that even minor regression will seem like a bust.
Kyle Matte – J.A. Happ – He’ll be fine, but Joe Fan will be upset he doesn’t replicate his 20 win, low-3 ERA campaign.
Matt Gwin – Dalton Pompey’s Haters – This may or may not include a Greco-Canadian with an alliterative name.
Michael Passador – Jason Grilli – He was a found wallet in 2016. I’ve never found a wallet, so finding two seems unlikely.
Nick Dika – Dynamic Pricing – Rogers will lose a lot of money when no one comes to watch the A’s on a Monday.
Rachael McDaniel – Justin Smoak, Starting 1B - He just sounds so morose in his SN590 intro. Doesn’t bode well.
Sean Addis – Justin Smoak – He will lose his job by May.
Tammy Rainey – Justin Smoak – Basically the only guy on this team I don’t believe in.
Key to 2017 Success
Andrew Munn – Hit the Ball – This lineup is a little bit vulnerable.
Bennett Brauer – Hot Start - Can’t fall behind too early and give the brass reasons to sell.
Dave Church – Alright, No One Get Hurt – A top-heavy team can’t afford many injuries.
Elie Waitzer – Mid-Season Bullpen Help – If Toronto is over .500 at the deadline expect a similar strategy to 2016.
Evan Peaslee – Offense – There’s enough pitching and defence to keep them close. The offense will be the difference.
Gideon Turk – David Price’s Left Arm – 1st place becomes a reality for the Jays if the Sox lose Price for long enough.
Greg Wisniewski – Positive Regression – The offense needs to improve enough to offset pitching losses.
Joshua Howsam – Rotation Health – The Jays rotation is as good as they come. The depth…well it doesn’t exist.
Kyle Matte – Passing the Baton – The lineup will be healthy and lengthy. It’ll will flourish if the players trust the lineup.
Matt Gwin – Dalton Pompey – Steve Pearce will need to take over for Smoak at 1B and Carrera/Upton won’t cut it in LF.
Michael Passador – Bullpen Depth – If things start to sour, we can’t count on another pair of dynamite acquisitions.
Nick Dika – No Brawling - With little depth in the high minors, the Jays can’t lose any players in bench-clearing dustups.
Rachael McDaniel – Rogers Centre’s Park Factor - Morales needs to be good; getting out of Kauffman will help.
Sean Addis – Rotation – They need to do their best to match last season.
Tammy Rainey – Health – It’s a cliche, but the team isn’t loaded with depth. The regulars need to be healthy.
One Bold Prediction
Andrew Munn – Toronto will possess a Top 5 bullpen at the end of the season,
Bennett Brauer – The team will REALLY struggle, will have a terrible trade deadline, Atkins will be let go, and Cherington will take over.
Dave Church – Kevin Pillar’s defense falters enough that his starting spot is in question by the end of the year.
Elie Waitzer – John Gibbons will lead MLB in ejections for the second year in a row.
Evan Peaslee – Dalton Pompey becomes an everyday starter by the All-Star break.
Gideon Turk – Stroman and Sanchez will both compete for the Cy Young, adding another dimension to their ex-bromance feud.
Greg Wisniewski – Kevin Pillar will walk 61 times.
Jenn Smith – Kendrys Morales will make fans forget all about that parrot-toting first baseman when he hits a game-winning home run in the playoffs…against Cleveland.
Joshua Howsam – Travis, Tulo, and Pearce each play over 140 games, but radio pundits still bemoan the absence of Ryan Goins.
Kyle Matte – Advanced stats websites finally recognize the Blue Jays rotation as the best in the American League.
Matt Gwin – Dalton Pompey will be the Blue Jays full time left fielder by May and cement himself as the best at his position in the AL East.
Michael Passador – At least one other player will block Gideon on Twitter and Devon Travis will get this year’s late All-Star campaign.
Nick Dika – Kendrys Morales will hit 40 home runs….and 7 doubles this season. Gonna be a lot of long, loud singles at the Rogers Centre in 2017.
Rachael McDaniel – Two Blue Jays players marry each other over the All-Star break.
Sean Addis – Morales has a better season than EE.
Tammy Rainey – Blue Jays win the AL East.
Lead Photo: © Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports