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Optimist vs Pessimist vs Realist: The Jays are Actually Good, right? RIGHT?!!

The Blue Jays are actually good! Wait, no, this cannot be sustained. Maybe this team lays somewhere in the middle?

Depending on your point of view, the Blue Jays’ first 12 games of the 2018 season can mean a lot of things or, for many, it can mean nothing at all. With each ten-game sample this season, we’ll touch on the key storylines and discuss the highlights, low-lights, and everything in between — breaking down the implications of each set through the eyes of a pessimist, optimist, and realist.

Here at BJN, we are good at math and realized that in a 162-game season, at least one of these pieces will have to cover 12 games instead of ten so, here you have it — the first 10-game (but actually 12) pessimist/optimist/realist review of the season:

The Yankees and Giancarlo Stanton

The Pessimist. Stanton crushed those opening day bombs, and that ferocious top of the Yankees order has the potential to be one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in recent history. So much power, we’re doomed!

The Optimist. The Yankees big offseason acquisition has already earned like 15 golden sombreros and has struck out at least 500 times. He leads the MLB in K’s and his swing mechanics currently rival those of a half-beaten Tyrannosaurus Rex. Judge sucks, too! There is nothing to fear with this team. Might as well relegate them.

The Realist. Stanton won’t strike out this much all season and Judge will find his stroke. The top of the order can be either deadly or completely useless, depending on the day. It’s concerning having these sluggers in the division, but a strong rotation, which the Jays have boasted so far, will be able to neutralize that power more often then not.

Yangervis Solarte dance parties

The Pessimist. Oh, great, another useless infielder who does nothing but dance around like a buffoon — making a mockery of this fine, serious sport of baseball while taking a roster spot away from a legitimately talented utility player. I thought Munenori Kawasaki retired?

The Optimist. We need this pep in our lineup. Baseball is fun and the players feed off each other. His energy is infectious. Best offseason pickup in a long time.

The Realist. This is literally irrelevant to anything. It’s both fun and annoying, please don’t read much into it—you overly-analytical muppets.

Take two from the White Sox, finally over .500

The Pessimist. Cool, the team has more wins than losses for the first time since 2016, what an accomplishment! An arbitrary number that means nothing is a seriously-low bar to aim for.

The Optimist. The team’s early success is indicative of where it should have been last year, and hitting the .500 mark is a long-overdue yet important symbol of improvement. Getting over .500 is the first step in the Blue Jays charge towards the 2018 AL East pennant.

The Realist. It’s an arbitrary mark and not the highest standard to work towards, but it’s a hell of a start especially compared to last season when the campaign was essentially over at this time. If you don’t at least enjoy this a little bit after the blazing tire-fire that was 2017, you have no soul.

Justin Smoak is not a sham

The Pessimist. The sample size is still too small despite every performance indicator screaming “this is the Real Justin Smoak.” Let’s trade this dude while his value is sky-high. Start the rebuild now, Shatkins!

The Optimist. Following his career-best, All Star season in 2017, Smoak has come out of the gate guns a blazing, slashing .333/.426/.578 and bagging six rib-eyes in that all-important get-us-to-500 game against the Yankees. Just immortalize this man in the Level Of Excellence already, fam.

The Realist. Smoak will have to produce at least close to the rate he did last year for Toronto to have any chance at playing past game No. 162 this year, and he’s off to a superb start. He will drop off a bit, obviously, but if Smoak and his corner-infield counterpart Josh Donaldson lead the club’s offensive charge in 2018 like they have been so far, it will be a huge plus for the Jays’ playoff chances.

MLB.TV

Beating Texas, dealing with Odor’s antics

The Pessimist. Suck it, Rangers.

The Optimist. Suck it, Rangers.

The Realist. Suck it, Rangers.

Vlady and Bo lighting it up with New Hampshire

The Pessimist. These young whippersnappers are pretty good, but there is no reason to ever get excited for a baseball player’s progress until 3-4 years into their big-league career. Anything can happen between now and the time they become regulars with the Jays. Chill with the hype!

The Optimist. CALL THEM UP RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

The Realist. The Fisher Cats are legit and Vladdy and Bo have been great—dominating AA pitching as kids. They could be September call ups, but it’s a long shot. They will be summoned when each is at a point when they can help the big club but not hurt themselves — It’s a tricky balance. The future is bright as long as we don’t shit all over their growth with poor development decisions.

The performance of the rotation, Aaron Sanchez

The Pessimist. Blisters.

The Optimist. The Blue Jays might have the best rotation in the AL. Garcia and Happ are money in the four and five spots, while Stroman looks like himself and Estrada seems poised to have a bounce-back year. Sanchez has added a filthy changeup to his arsenal and is completely over his blister issues. What could go wrong?

The Realist. The rotation has done everything that’s been expected of it so far, and there’s no reason to think they can’t be at least near this level all season. The club will live or die with its arms and, so far, so good. Health. Is. Key.

Osuna becomes youngest ever to reach 100 saves

The Pessimist. We’re going to burn him out. He should be in the rotation. 100 is a stupid number.

The Optimist. After blowing an inordinate amount of save oportuninies last season, Osuna is clearly back and we can once again breathe a collective sigh of relief every time he’s called to come in and close out a game. Osuna Matata, bitches.

The Realist. He’s very good and very important, but Gibby should consider using him more in various late-inning, high-leverage situations rather than utilizing him as strictly a ‘closer.’

  • mktoronto

    Love this piece! Personal faves: “Osuna Matata, bitches” and the agreement on “Suck it, Rangers”. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

  • DMac

    The first bakers dozen games have me, for one, reasonably optimistic about the season. Not that I am jumping up and down, thinking that this team will steam roll its way to the post season, but have been pleased so far. My expectations were certainly tempered by last year, but the pitching (both starters and relief) has been pretty good, not excellent, but pretty good. And, with the exception of Randal Grichuk, hitting has not been an issue. I am particularly taken with what Pearce and Solarte (how the hell do you pronounce his first name?) have done with the stick. Now, that said, the first series against the Red Sox will be a large measuring stick. In that first season series, the Jays met and were a good match for the Yankees, whose pitching and big bats (both the primary–Judge and Stanton–and the secondary–Sanchez and Gregorius) I had thought would be the big obstacles. The Red Sox, I think, have a deeper lineup of hitters along with a really good starting rotation. Am looking forward to that week of games starting on the 19th. Color me an optimist.

  • lukewarmwater

    The optimist, amazing how many teams in A.L. have deteriorated and are in a rebuild. K.C., White Sox, Tampa Bay, okay they are always in a rebuild. The dirty birds have a garbage pitching staff. Oakland is Oakland, Detroit is going nowheresville, Seattle is Seattle. So if we can play 500 against the panicking Yankees, play as well as we can against the bean towners and take advantage of the mediocre teams spread out throught the A.L., we indeed are playing meaningful games in September.

    • Guzman's Jheri Curl

      Central division is shit. Cleveland has a cake walk to the playoffs this year. Twins shouldn’t really be in the WC hunt, but having that many division games against KC, DET and CWS will keep them close.

  • Guzman's Jheri Curl

    Good concept for regular piece & definitely provides a chance to take some fun shots at players/fans in the process. My only suggestion would be to help illustrate some of the regression analytic support when possible to reinforce points like Stanton K% etc.