Looking for reasons to feel optimistic? Well, here you go!
Over at FanGraphs, the Steamer projections for the 2021 season have been released and they’re quite bullish on the Blue Jays.
For those who are asking ‘what’s a Steamer?’ it’s FanGraphs’ projection system based on past performance and typical ageing trends. Obviously, Steamer projections don’t all necessarily come true, but it’s widely regarded as one of the most accurate predictors in the industry.
Steamer has 10 (!!!) different Blue Jays with a wRC+ higher than 100 (meaning 10 hitters are projected to be above average). Some interesting notes…
- Steamer really believes in Vladdy. He’s projected to slash a .299/.373/.528 line and his projected 144 wRC+ is seventh in baseball, tied with Ronald Acuna Jr. and right behind Freddie Freeman. That kind of breakout from Vladdy would be fantastic.
- Though Vladdy is projected to be Toronto’s most productive hitter, Bo Bichette is being projected as their best all-around player. Steamer has Bo producing a nice 119 wRC+ while also being a plus defender, coming out at a team-high 4.1 wins above replacement.
- Steamer has also bought into the Alejandro Kirk hype. It’s projecting Kirk will produce a 123 wRC+ over 52 games. It also has Danny Jansen rebounding at the plate with a 103 wRC+ which would give the Blue Jays a very effective catching duo.
- The player Steamer isn’t buying into is Teoscar Hernandez. Despite being the Blue Jays’ best hitter in 2020, Steamer has Hernandez regressing to a .240/.310/.465 slash line with 31 homers and a lot given back on defence. Hernandez, who was worth 1.6 wins in just 50 games in 2020, is projected to be worth just 1.0 win in 2021.
- So, all told, it’s Vlad with a 144 wRC+, Kirk at 123, Bo at 119, Rowdy Tellez at 117, Lourdes Gurriel at 114, Cavan Biggio at 112, Hernandez at 109, Randal Grichuk at 108, Travis Shaw at 106, and Jansen at 103. Derek Fisher also comes in slightly below average at 98 while Jonathan Davis and Santiago Espinal are at 88.
Again, Steamer projections are just projections but it does ultimately show that the Blue Jays’ lineup boasts quite an impressive amount of depth and has the potential to be very, very good.
Just imagine how good they could be if they added a name like George Springer, who’s projected to slash a .269/.362/.502 line or one of the many other above-average free agent hitters out there.