Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Daulton Varsho brought an elite glove in 2023, but left the bat in Arizona

Photo credit:Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
2 months ago
Daulton Varsho didn’t have a great season in 2023.
This is the 40-man Roster Review, in which we’re going to take a look back at each player on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster, and how they performed in 2023, as well as their outlook for 2024.
On December 23, 2022, the Blue Jays traded top prospect Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for Daulton Varsho. So far, neither team has really won the trade, as Moreno posted a 103 wRC+ in the regular season, and a 102 wRC+ in the playoffs and picked up the National League Gold Glove, while the Diamondbacks went to the World Series.
Somehow, Varsho had an even worse season with the bat, slashing just .220/.285/.389 with 20 homers in 581 plate appearances for an 85 wRC+ and a 2.1 fWAR. His home run totals dropped from 27, and his wRC+ in his final season in Arizona was 107. As for Varsho’s fWAR, it dropped from 4.8 in 2022 to 2.1 in 2023. However, this was in large part due to the fact he played more innings in left field (817.2) than he did in centre field (462.1).
Still, Varsho generated a 2.1 fWAR and a 3.9 bWAR, mainly due to his defence. The 27-year-old outfielder was absolutely robbed of a Gold Glove because he split time between left field and centre field. Altogether, he had 29 Defensive Runs Saved and 10 Outs Above Average, with the former being the highest in the league. It’s a joke he didn’t win the Gold Glove because he split time between centre field and left field.
Varsho’s lack of productivity with his bat was noticeable, and he’ll need to be better in 2024. Thankfully, Fangraphs’ steamer predicts that he’ll slash .239/.308/.442 with 25 homers in 570 plate appearances for a 106 wRC+ and a 3 fWAR. Fangraphs Depth Chart has him with the same slash line, but hitting an extra homer in 602 plate appearances for a 3.1 fWAR.
It’s still up in the air as to which team won the trade. In terms of the bat, Gurriel Jr. had the highest wRC+ at just 106, while he and Varsho tied in fWAR. Had Varsho played more in centre field, as he’s capable of doing, his fWAR would have been better than both Moreno’s and Gurriel Jr.’s. Perhaps combined.
The 2024 season will go a long way in determining which team won the trade, but expect Varsho to have a significantly better season than last.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.


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