Baseball is back baby! Spring training begins today and there's no better way to ring in the new year than to argue about who's more valuable than who. For the first day of power rankings, I combined last season's results with each players potential to succeed in the 2022 season. Without further ado, your 2022 Toronto Blue Jays.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
There's zero questions about who should be at the top of the list. If the league didn't currently have the second coming of Babe Ruth then we'd be talking about the 2021 AL MVP. Vlad is back, looking better than ever and hitting us with some all-timer quotes.
2. Jose Berrios
Last year's massive trade deadline acquisition came over with a bang. After a hurling 6 innings of 7 K, shutout ball, Berrios went on a bit of a slump. After the wizard Pete Walker helped him make some mechanical adjustments however, the righty went on to post a 2.93 ERA with 53 Ks and just 5 walks over his final 7 starts. Berrios looks poised to be among the AL's best starters this season.
3. George Springer
One of the most frustrating storylines of last season was undoubtedly the health of George Springer. When he was on the field however, Springer was otherworldly. The star CF finished the season with 22 HRs in just 78 games while posting a .907 OPS and a 140 wRC+ despite dealing with some tough injuries. If he manages to stay healthy, with the protection in this lineup, Springer could do some special things in 2022.
4. Kevin Gausman
The offseason pickup that feels like it was last offseason, Gausman had a phenomenal 2021. The righty posted a 2.81 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP on his way to being an NL Cy Young finalist. He'll have some big shoes to fill with the departure of 2021 AL Cy Young Robbie Ray, but if he comes as advertised he should fill it with ease.
5. Teoscar Hernandez
The breakout slugger who just keeps on breaking out. The outfielder mashed 32 home runs en route to his second straight Silver Slugger award. Likely hitting in a clean up spot behind Vladdy, Teoscar will see plenty of opportunities to continue his dominance.
6. Bo Bichette
Bichette had a bit of an up and down 2021, but when the dust settled Bo Bichette's stats looked as phenomenal as ever. A .298/.343/.484 slash line to go with 29 HRs was nothing to shake a stick at for a 23 year old having a "down year". After seemingly figuring out his defensive problems part way through last season, he'll have a chance to prove himself even more playing beside the best defensive player in baseball.
7. Jordan Romano
Not much needs to be said about Romano. The Canadian fireballer cemented himself as one of the elite closers in the league last year (with or without the squat) and showed no signs of slowing down.
8. Matt Chapman
The newest Blue Jay came off a down year in 2021 after offseason hip surgery. Now fully healthy, Chapman brings one of the best defensive games you will ever see on top of some raw home run power. Playing in the parks of the AL East should do Chappy wonders.
9. Alek Manoah
Last year's rookie sensation, Manoah became a fan favourite with his dominance on the mound. This year, the expectations are significantly higher than they were last year, so it'll be interesting to see how the 24 year old handles the pressure.
10. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Lourdes Gurriel has the ability to be the best hitter on the team, or the worst hitter on the team. Last year was no different, but a .329/.389/.694, 7 HR, 30 RBI September gave a look into just how special he can be. At very worst, I'll always remember him being a part of the moment that changed the entire season outlook around
11. Adam Cimber
Cimber is simply the most fun pitcher on this team. A weird delivery, a number no one wears, and an average velo that should get you shelled, Cimber defies all the odds. Whether he can repeat his 1.69 ERA, 0.96 WHIP performance of last year remains to be seen, but it'll be fun nonetheless.
12. Tim Mayza
Tim Mayza was an incredible story last season. After a long road back from Tommy John surgery, Mayza became the most reliable reliever the Jays had in 2021. The lefty gave up just 5 HRs over 61 appearances, and gave Charlie Montoyo a much needed back end weapon.
13. Danny Jansen
Jano had a horrific start to 2021. After dealing with a couple injuries however, he came back and looked like everything anyone had ever hoped for. Who knows what Jansen shows up this season, but the Jays could have a hidden gem here
14. Trevor Richards
Another fantastic pickup for the Shapiro-Atkins regime. Richards came over in the Rowdy Tellez and hit the ground running. Over 32 games as a Blue Jay, Richards put together a 3.31 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP. He may not have a back of the bullpen role this year, but he will be an excellent piece around the Jays pen.
15. Alejandro Kirk
Alejandro Kirk can put the bat on the ball as well as anyone in the league (as seen in his short stint as a rookie). The issue with Kirk is he’s not a very good defensive catcher, making it tough to give him a starting role, but he also lacks the pop of a true full time DH. He should play his way into the lineup, but it won’t be an easy task for him.
16. Hyun-Jin Ryu
Ryu was a Cy Young finalist in 2020, but couldn’t manage to find that same success in 2021. A combination of some poor defence, and a lack of command has put doubts on whether or not Hyun-Jin Ryu can bring back his elite form. If he can,
17. Yimi Garcia
A little streaky in his career so far, Garcia has a chance to put up some good numbers as a lower leverage reliever in this Blue Jays bullpen. At the very worst, he will bring some much needed depth to the pen.
18. Cavan Biggio
Last year was super underwhelming for Cavan. A position change that didn’t work out, and a plethora of injuries has sort of put him on the bad books for a lot of Jays fans. Fortunately, 2022 is a new year and Kevin Barker of Sportsnet has already said the ball sounds like it’s coming off the bat differently for Cav. If he can return to the form that we saw in his first two seasons, then he will be an incredible bottom of the order bat.
19. Santiago Espinal
Possibly last year’s biggest surprise story, not only was Espinal continually great on defence, he managed to go on quite the run offensively as well. This year it’s VERY clear he put in some work in the offseason in hopes to lock down the full time spot at second.
20. Yusei Kikuchi
Kikuchi’s 2021 was a tale of two halves. An all-star calibre first half, and a train wreck of a second half. The hard throwing Kikuchi comes to the Blue Jays with command issues, while throwing fireballs… sound familiar?
21. Nate Pearson
Pearson has the potential to make his way up this list in a hurry. Unfortunately for him, an injury plagued 2021 season kind of derailed the hype train on a once top prospect. If healthy, the now 25 year old fireballer has the chance to be a dominant force in the bullpen.
22. Julian Merryweather
If injuries never existed, Julian Merryweather would have a chance to be the best reliever in baseball. In the four games before going down with an injury, Merryweather didn’t give up a run, just one hit, and 7 Ks. Probably the biggest “what if” story you’ll see, but IF he’s healthy he’s going to be a massive factor in this bullpen.
23. Randal Grichuk
The single most frustrating player on the Blue Jays. Grich has all the tools to be a great power hitter, but in the big moments it seems like he rarely comes through. 22 homers is nothing to shake a stick at however, and if he can find any consistency as the fourth outfielder/DH on this team, then he’ll be a valuable piece.
24. Reese McGuire
This is make or break for Reese McGuire. He either wins the backup catcher spot, or he probably gets claimed off of waivers. Being the catcher for Kevin Gausman in Spring Training so far has got him off on the right foot at least.
25. Ross Stripling
Once thought to be the 5 starter this season, Strip has been pushed down the depth chart by the acquisition of Yusei Kikuchi. Fortunately for him, he has shown that he can be a formidable long man for the Jays and can spot start when necessary.
26. Andrew Vasquez
Vasquez doesn’t really have a guaranteed spot in the bullpen, but he has a chance to find himself there come opening day. His Major League numbers don’t really impress yet, but there are definitely some benefits to having his breaking stuff mixed in with the flamethrowers in the bullpen.
27. Thomas Hatch
If Hatch was left handed, and committed to a bullpen role, he would easily walk away with a bullpen role. Unfortunately he’s not, and he will probably be off the opening day roster.
28. Ryan Borucki
The biggest threat to Vasquez’s spot on the roster. This is probably Borucki’s last chance to stick with the Blue Jays, and if he can find his 2020 form, he has a legit shot to make it.