It’s almost baseball season again! All of us here at BP Toronto have consulted our crystal balls and our Ouija boards so we’re ready to predict the future of the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays. Qualms? Questions? Comments? Be sure to let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below.
RECORD IN 2018
Andrew Arnold – 84-78 – Good enough (ish) for play-off contention (ish).
Andrew Munn – 88-72 – I’d like to think they’re a playoff team.
Bennett Brauer – 69-93 A massive firesale at deadline precedes Sept 1 Vlad Call-up.
Dave Church – 82-80 – Like the late aughts: Good enough to tease, not good enough to be in it come September.
Elie Waitzer – 89-73 – Rotation quietly the best in AL East; the offence scrapes by.
Greg Wisniewski – 83-79 – It’s a thin line between success and failure and they have to walk it 38 times against two powerhouses.
Jenn Smith – 86-76 – “Raising the floor” ought to be worth six or so wins over last season. Factor in better health and they’ll be in the mix.
Jon Shell – 75-87 – Mid-Season trades. Death to 2018!
Joshua Howsam – 85-77- They should be good enough to at least keep things interesting. That’s better than pre-2015!
Kyle Matte – 87-75 – Third place in the AL East, but should be sufficient to beat out the Twins and Angels for the second Wild Card.
Michael Passador – 86-76 – Just good enough to keep things exciting. Also a few people already took 85-77.
Mike Sonne – 85-77 – David Price’s arm explodes. CC Sabathia does the dirty dance with father time.
Nick Dika – 81-81 – I took the the coward’s way out here.
Rachael McDaniel – 83-79 – Not great, Bob! (but still okay)
Richard Lee-Sam – 90-72 – They have talent to win 87-90 games.
Sean Addis – 88-74 – They have “raised the floor”, optimistic they reached this level.
Tammy Rainey – 91-71 – Attempting to be the most optimistic here.
BEST POSITION PLAYER
Andrew Arnold – Josh Donaldson – Because he’s Josh Donaldson.
Andrew Munn – Josh Donaldson – Nothing to this point has warranted any other answer.
Bennett Brauer – Russell Martin – He’ll have a comeback year at the plate and continue to work well with the staff.
Dave Church – Josh Donaldson – Easy pick here.
Elie Waitzer – Justin Smoak - Donaldson’s calf issues persist, Smoak once again leads the offence.
Greg Wisniewski – Randal Grichuk – I’m not 100% sure how, but finding a power hitter in ‘the rough’ is kind of what the Jays do, right?
Jenn Smith – Josh Donaldson – No need to get cute with this one. He’s the best position player on the team. And it’s a contract year.
Jon Shell – Josh Donaldson – I couldn’t even come up with a clever reason to pick someone else.
Joshua Howsam – Josh Donaldson – If it’s anybody else, something has gone seriously wrong.
Kyle Matte – Josh Donaldson – A proud guy headed for free agency. Expect the usual Donaldson level of performance, and he’ll draw his name into the lineup 150+ times.
Michael Passador – Josh Donaldson – Too easy to pass up this choice.
Mike Sonne – Devon Travis – Everyone else wrote Josh Donaldson. If he stays healthy (and Nick Dika and I don’t eat any Pizza).
Nick Dika – Josh Donaldson – There really isn’t anyone that comes close to challenging him for this…at least until Vlad gets called up.
Rachael McDaniel – Josh Donaldson – Honestly, who else would it be?
Richard Lee-Sam – Josh Donaldson - Duh.
Sean Addis – Josh Donaldson – If it isn’t, the season has probably gone poorly.
Tammy Rainey – Josh Donaldson – Calling this one for anyone else is attempting to be too clever.
Andrew Arnold – Marcus Stroman – Because everyone will almost for sure choose Sanchez. It will probably be Sanchez. Fine, I choose Aaron Sanchez. Although it could easily be J.A. Happ, Jaime Garcia, or Marco Estrada. Final answer? Roberto Osuna.
Andrew Munn – J.A. Happ – Being bold by going with the bland ace.
Bennett Brauer – Roberto Osuna – Coward’s way out here.
Dave Church – Aaron Sanchez – I (DON’T) GOT BLISTERS ON ME FINGERS.
Elie Waitzer – Aaron Sanchez - Don’t forget the glorious gifs he bestowed upon us in 2016, he’s still filthy.
Greg Wisniewski – Aaron Sanchez – I can’t bet against a Comeback Player of the Year candidate, can I?
Jenn Smith – Aaron Sanchez – 2017 was an aberration. The 2016 version of Sanchez is the real deal.
Jon Shell – Aaron Sanchez – Not like we don’t have precedent for this.
Joshua Howsam – Aaron Sanchez -Sorry, Marco. I’m going off brand. Sanchez is healthy and is really, really good.
Kyle Matte – Aaron Sanchez – It’s a legitimate toss-up between Sanchez and Marcus Stroman in my eyes, but only one has been fully healthy this spring.
Michael Passador – Aaron Sanchez – This is a motivational tactic to fire up Marcus Stroman, but also Sanchez is really good.
Mike Sonne – Aaron Sanchez – He steals the mojo out of Estrada’s changeup, and all of a sudden he’s MLB’s best pitcher.
Nick Dika – Aaron Sanchez- That velo and that curveball.
Rachael McDaniel – Aaron Sanchez – I am fully ready for the Aaron Sanchez 2018 revenge tour.
Richard Lee-Sam – Aaron Sanchez – https://twitter.com/mstrooo6/status/576013556354809856
Sean Addis – Marco Estrada – Sanchez would be the easy pick but I think Estrada will rebound from the struggles of last season. He will quietly be a reliable force in the rotation.
Tammy Rainey – Aaron Sanchez – He will have a credible case for best in the league after Sale.
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Andrew Arnold – Luke Maile - If the definition of “break-out” means “somewhat playable” I think he’s got a shot.
Andrew Munn – Joe Biagini – It would be interesting if he pitches his way into the rotation.
Bennett Brauer – Kevin Pillar – I think he hits .300 and cements himself as a top of the lineup force.
Dave Church – Teoscar Hernandez – There is lots of opportunity in the outfield for him to shine.
Elie Waitzer – Yangervis Solarte - All he needs to break out is a power spike, which could happen at the Dome.
Greg Wisniewski – Anthony Alford – A late start that results in a call-up when Pillar finally hits a wall that hits back is the Cinderella story I need.
Jenn Smith – Randal Grichuk – A change of scenery might just do the trick. Factor in his offseason work and he could very well be a pleasant surprise.
Jon Shell – Troy Tulowitzki – Is a re-breakout a thing? Or did I just read “break” and instantly think of him?
Joshua Howsam – Devon Travis – He may not play 155 games, but Travis is going to be great for 130.
Kyle Matte – Anthony Alford – Alford will be a regular at the top of the Blue Jays lineup’ by mid-June, and neither he nor the team will be looking back.
Michael Passador – Danny Jansen – We’re one Russell Martin injury away. Lock the sauna doors.
Mike Sonne – Randal Grichuk – He’s better than last year’s RF. Based on 2017-2018 change, it wins, objectively.
Nick Dika – Anthony Alford – This is more “please God let it be Anthony Alford” than knowing it’s going to be Anthony Alford.
Rachael McDaniel – Kevin Pillar - THIS IS THE YEAR.
Richard Lee-Sam – Teoscar Hernandez - That power with less strikeouts? Yes please.
Sean Addis – Randal Grichuk – He’ll be given the security of a full time job and will excel in the AL East ballparks.
Tammy Rainey – Randal Grichuk – Mid-30’s power, great D and enough speed to steal 20 or more if the bases are not clogged in front of him.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Andrew Arnold – Kendrys Morales - I think he’s set return to his previous form.
Andrew Munn – Devon Travis – He’s way too fun for me to give up on.
Bennett Brauer – Jose Bautista- Just kidding. Aaron Sanchez.
Dave Church – Aaron Sanchez – Can I use the “blisters” thing again? No?
Elie Waitzer – Russell Martin - Recaptures his 20+ HR stroke while providing solid OBP.
Greg Wisniewski – Aaron Sanchez – He has the digits to prove it.
Jenn Smith – Devon Travis – We know how good he can be when healthy, and he finally has a decent enough backup to give him regular rest.
Jon Shell – Kendrys Morales – I think people returning from injuries shouldn’t count toward this award.
Joshua Howsam – Seung-hwan Oh – It’s probably actually Sanchez, but Oh is going to be the “Final Boss” again, instead of “Oh no, he’s pitching again.”
Kyle Matte – Devon Travis – The fact that there are so many viable options for this category is yet another damnation of the 2017 season.
Michael Passador – Seung-hwan Oh – Being turned away by the Rangers represents rock bottom to me, so here’s to the comeback.
Mike Sonne – Devon Travis – #MoralesTruthersNeedToShareWhatTheyAreSmoking
Nick Dika – Devon Travis - Because you’re only injury prone until you’re not. And they’ll give him many off days.
Rachael McDaniel – Aaron Sanchez – Even the word “blister” itself will be rendered a distant dream .
Richard Lee-Sam – Aaron Sanchez - https://twitter.com/mstrooo6/status/576013556354809856
Sean Addis – Kendrys Morales – He will return to the numbers of 2015 and 2016.
Tammy Rainey – Devon Travis – This time for sure.
Andrew Arnold – Steve Pearce - DFA’d before the end of May.
Andrew Munn – Kendrys Morales – The potential outcomes usually don’t look great for aging one-tool players.
Bennett Brauer – Teoscar Hernandez It was between him and Stormy Daniels.
Dave Church – Justin Smoak – This feels inevitable.
Elie Waitzer – Troy Tulowitzki - Again.
Greg Wisniewski – Kendrys Morales – He’s going to decline like aging DHs do, causing us to ask questions that clutch, late-inning home runs can’t answer.
Jenn Smith – Kevin Pillar – No chance he hits .432/.457/.659 like he did this spring. We’ve seen this play before.
Jon Shell – Bo Bichette – His wacky swing gets exposed and he tumbles down the lists.
Joshua Howsam – Steve Pearce – The man who can’t stay healthy will lose his job to Teoscar Hernández early.
Kyle Matte – Kendrys Morales – It’s hard to say a guy coming off a 97 wRC+ has bust potential, but there’s been enough hype that I think we’ll be disappointed.
Michael Passador – Teoscar Hernandez – I think we’ll be seeing a lot less of him than we expected a few months ago. Does that count?
Mike Sonne – Kendrys Morales – Older, slower, and still the same ground ball smasher.
Nick Dika – Kendrys Morales – Age (and a high groundball rate) waits for no man (and especially no power hitter)
Rachael McDaniel – Troy Tulowitzki – I still love him, but at this point he’s just like a bag of broken bones.
Richard Lee-Sam – the New York Yankees - Yeah, I said it.
Sean Addis – Ryan Tepera- The number of pitches and innings accumulated last season and the unpredictability of bullpen arms will result in disappoint for fans.
Tammy Rainey – Kevin Pillar – this is only relative to the team because there’s no one here that I expect to fail.
KEY TO 2018 SUCCESS
Andrew Arnold – Rotational Health – This team can compete with a healthy rotation. They can’t, without.
Andrew Munn – Happy and Healthy Minor League Depth – #PayThePlayers
Bennett Brauer – Early Start – I know, I know: Health. But as we saw last year, it’s impossible to play from behind in such a hard league.
Dave Church – Don’t Get Hurt – If the guys stay healthy, they’ll be in it. Mostly.
Elie Waitzer – Jaime Garcia – He has to hold down the 5th starter fort so they don’t need many spot starts.
Greg Wisniewski – Breakouts – Need a little pixie dust to sprinkle on the role-players so they play like All-Stars until the inevitable injuries pass.
Jenn Smith – Don’t Dig Yourself a Hole – Win more than eight games in the first month of the season. That, and a strong starting five.
Jon Shell – Vets Build Value Leading to Great Trades - Can we stop pretending we’re not focused on 2020?
Joshua Howsam – Bullpen Rebounds – Oh, Clippard, and Axford: Three guys who need to re-live past success.
Kyle Matte – The Offense - Over the last three years, the offense has had a wRC+ of 117 (1st), 103 (6th), and 91 (24th). If that doesn’t turn around, it doesn’t matter how good the pitching is/will be.
Michael Passador – Don’t Let Pillar Hit leadoff if Travis Gets Hurt – It’s really health, though.
Mike Sonne – Raise the Floor – Tulo is hurt, Travis gets hurt, but the replacements end up being even better.
Nick Dika – Smoak Follows Up His Breakout – The Jays pitching staff should be able to keep them in games but Smoak needs to follow up on his breakout 2017 to give the Jays another big bat in the middle of the lineup.
Rachael McDaniel – Rotation Health – I still don’t know who Nick Tepesch is and I don’t want to remember.
Richard Lee-Sam – Consistency – Health, no prolonged slumps, and SPs 1-5 pitching quality innings.
Sean Addis – Starting Rotation – Simple, if this team is to contend it will need the pitching to reach its potential.
Tammy Rainey – Big April – Achieve and maintain momentum.
ONE BOLD PREDICTION
Andrew Arnold – Randal Grichuk starts using fellow high school alumni BJ Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” as his walk-up music. Is promptly put directly behind Donaldson in the batting order.
Andrew Munn – The Raptors and Blue Jays accidentally schedule their Parliament Hill championship visits on the same day, resulting in the best photos of the decade.
Bennett Brauer – They throw a no-hitter this year. On the road. Against Baltimore.
Dave Church – Two thirds of the opening day lineup is benched or gone by the end of the season.
Elie Waitzer – Dominic Leone gets the closer job in St. Louis, before losing it to Conner Greene.
Greg Wisniewski – Jose Bautista returns as hitting coach after an abysmal two months by the offence. His methods allow the Jays to out-homer the Yankees for the rest of the season.
Jenn Smith – Someone other than Kevin Pillar will be the Jays’ starting center fielder by midseason.
Jon Shell – After another bad start, attendance plummets below 2.5M – And all hell breaks loose between Shapiro and Rogers; team is “sold” to Ed Rogers.
Joshua Howsam – Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman finish 1-2 in AL ERA. Sanchez crushes Stroman in Cy Young votes though because of media disdain for “6.”
Kyle Matte – The Blue Jays are in playoff contention in September, and the offense is carried by a trio of rookie hitters.
Michael Passador – Buck and Pat don’t mention Derek Jeter until the fifth inning on Opening Day.
Mike Sonne – Marcus Stroman figures out how to strike out hitters, finishes top 5 in Cy Young voting, and demands a trade in the off season.
Nick Dika – Yangervis Solarte becomes the team’s primary shortstop at some point during the regular season….and doesn’t make Josh upset with his defensive play either.
Rachael McDaniel - In a shocking turn of events, the Jays go 19-0 against the Yankees. Neither Aaron Judge nor Giancarlo Stanton homer at Rogers Centre.
Richard Lee-Sam – The Blue Jays stay within striking distance all season. Pennant race!
Sean Addis – The Blue Jays will have the best bullpen in the AL East.
Tammy Rainey – They’ll have a realistic chance to win the AL East into September.
And that’s it! Some of us will be right, some of us will be wrong, and some of us will look downright silly.
Enjoy the season!
Lead Photo From George Hodan