Wolfe: We might be underestimating the Blue Jays

From Tony Wolfe at FanGraphs on February 19, 2020:

It’s difficult to predict that a team will go from a losing record to reaching the postseason in any given season without sounding like a contrarian or someone who’s trying too hard, but in baseball, it’s a legitimately prudent exercise. Every year since 2006 has produced at least one playoff team that finished with a record under .500 in the previous season. Odds are good that it will happen to somebody this year too, and if you’re guessing who it will be, there are no shortage of options to choose from. The Angels have beefed up their lineup. The White Sox are pushing their chips in. The Reds are something close to favorites in a weak NL Central. The Padres fancy themselves close as well. If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned comeback story to cheer for in 2020, you can take your pick. My personal favorite might be the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays are rarely mentioned in the same breath as the teams listed above, but they share something in common with each of them. Like Los Angeles, they overhauled a major portion of the roster. Like Cincinnati, they improved their team in a division that mostly either stood pat or took a step back. And like Chicago and San Diego, they enter this season with a boatload of young players who are excellent candidates to break out. But when you think of teams who might suddenly contend this season, Toronto probably doesn’t come to mind, and for good reason. Our Depth Charts project them to be 21st in team WAR in 2020, and Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections have them at just 76 wins and a 3% chance of making the postseason. Depending upon how you look at things, the Blue Jays are probably somewhere between the ninth and 11th-best team in the American League on paper, either at the bottom of baseball’s middle class or the top of its lower class.

Read the full article here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/we-might-be-underestimating-the-blue-jays/

Originally published: February 21, 2020. Last Updated: February 21, 2020.