Falling one agonizing game short of the postseason in 2021 provided the Toronto Blue Jays with a winter's worth of motivation in pursuit of World Series contention this summer. Some expected normalcy following consecutive seasons marked by pandemic displacement should help on that end, as an emotional homecoming last July 30 after 670 days away nearly ended with a storybook finish. Continued growth of budding superstars Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, a deep rotation led by José Berríos and Kevin Gausman, and an impact-laden roster headlined by George Springer all give the Blue Jays a legitimate shot at not only making the playoffs, but also doing some damage in October should they qualify.
Opposing Scouts Size Up the Blue Jays
"They're the team to beat, for me — best young crop of position players out there. They're athletic, hungry and only getting better. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the kind of body that will always require a lot of maintenance, but he looked great last year and was in crush mode all season long. Bo Bichette just flat hits, and he was a surprise on defense. The industry consensus was that he'd move off shortstop, but he stuck there, which is a credit to his work ethic and confidence. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is a really solid glue guy who flies under the radar with so many stars around. They'll miss Marcus Semien, for sure, but that's mitigated if George Springer plays a full season. They paid a ton to bring Kevin Gausman back to the AL East, but he's a different pitcher than he was in Baltimore — he uses that devastating split/change more than twice as often as he used to and just pitches off that. They made a great trade to get José Berríos — the prospects had name recognition, so they were overvalued — and then made sure to extend him."
Beyond the Box Score
Home woes How 2021 would have turned out had they been able to play all 81 home games in Toronto is a lingering question for the Blue Jays. They went 10–11 at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, their spring training home, and then 12–11 at Buffalo's Sahlen Field before a 25–11 run at Rogers Centre (they also lost a game playing as the home team in Anaheim, making up an April rainout). They weren't going to play .694 baseball at home all year, but would there have been just one more win there?