Al East Preview: The talented Blue Jays have unfinished business

By | February 10, 2021
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In honor of the 2022 Major League Baseball season begins April 7 – And the is actually Thing! FiveThirtyEight We will focus our attention on the most interesting team in each division. Today, we’re taking a look at the American Eastern League, a heavyweight group of talented teams that may be due for a new champion this year.

Amid the flurry of action that followed the end of the MLB shutdown, the Toronto Blue Jays’ acquisition of third baseball player Matt Chapman last week was a reminder to the rest of baseball how seriously the team’s aspirations for the championship are. Toronto looks equally intimidating and entertaining: The now-projected arena contains three players with at least 3.5 wins over substitution in 2021 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr (6.8), Beau Pechet (5.4) and Chapman (3.5) – plus a fourth. , Cavan Biggio, who played at a 4.4-WAR pace in the short 2020 season. Guerrero is already back hitting balls in spring training. Combined with defensive back George Springer and a solid crew, this stacked squad makes the Blue Jays look just as dangerous as their longtime backs.

In fact, they might be the favorites to win the MLS – on paper. According to the combination of projections we use to determine Elo’s pre-season ratings, Toronto’s composite win total of 92.1 ranks third in the MLB (behind the sport’s last two champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves) and first in the AL by a slim margin. Band competition New York Yankees.

Blue Jays looks like one of the best…

Top MLB teams as predicted pre-season 2022 MLB win, according to a composite of FiveThirtyEight’s Elo rankings and three statistical projection systems

Expected victories
a team to divide Davenport bulletin Fangraves connection compound
1 Dodgers NL West 99.0 101.0 94.6 100.7 99.0
2 brave NL East 92.0 91.8 92.2 93.4 92.5
3 blue jays at least 97.0 91.1 92.7 88.9 92.1
4 Yankees at least 90.0 98.7 90.9 89.4 91.9
5 Astros AL West 86.0 90.6 89.1 92.6 89.9
6 Brewer NL Central 90.0 93.2 88.1 87.0 89.3
7 white socks the center 93.0 91.5 86.8 86.7 89.2
8 rays at least 84.0 85.4 86.7 93.4 88.0
9 parents NL West 85.0 91.3 88.0 83.2 86.5
10 red socks at least 88.0 85.8 87.0 85.5 86.5

Forecast as of March 21, 2022.

Elo wins are based on a regressed version of the 2021 Elo final ratings.

Sources: ClayDavenport.com, Baseball Bulletin, FanGraphs

AL East is a tough division again this season – when ever not the case? – With the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox joining Toronto and New York to claim four of the top 10 spots on the above list. But in terms of talent, Blue Jays can stand in full swing with any of them. The only problem might be that this was true last year as well. According to core team ability metrics such as the Pythagorean Prediction (based on the number of team runs that are logged and allowed) and Team WAR (which includes more detailed stats), Toronto was in the top five in the MLB League last season and was – at worst – third. Best club in AL.

…but that was true last season as well

Top MLB teams of the 2021 season, according to Pythagoras win percentage (based on running differential) and total winnings over substitution

by pythagoras win% By Roster WAR
RK a team pythago% RK a team deceased. I was
1 Los Angeles Dodgers * .672 1 Los Angeles Dodgers * 57.2
2 San Francisco Giants* .635 2 San Francisco Giants* 54.3
3 Tampa Bay Rays* .623 3 Houston Astros * 53.2
4 Houston Astros * .622 4 Toronto Blue Jays 50.8
5 Toronto Blue Jays .610 5 Tampa Bay Rays* 50.6
6 Chicago White Sox * .601 6 Chicago White Sox * 50.6
7 Atlanta Braves * .584 7 Milwaukee Brewers* 45.6
8 Milwaukee Brewers* .577 8 Boston Red Sox * 42.0
9 Boston Red Sox * .546 9 Atlanta Braves * 41.2
10 Auckland Athletics .536 10 St. Louis Cardinals* 40.4

The 2021 play-off team.

Source: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs

However, the Blue Jays not only failed to win the pennant, but did not make the playoffs at all, finishing a game from the last wild card slot in the AL. (You can see how outsider they were by the fact that all the other teams on those rosters were post-season.) In the process, Toronto became one of the best teams in history to miss the playoffs—a roster no team would crave. to add themselves to it.

Historically, one of the basic rules behind the ebb and flow of the baseball franchise is that teams with better stats than their records tend to improve the following season, often in proportion to the amount of expectations lowered in the previous year. Since the dawn of the divisional era in 1969, teams whose actual victories per 162 games were later than their Pythagorean victories per 162 by at least six tended to improve their actual victories per 162 by an average of 7.1. Toronto’s gap to last season was -7.8 wins, so – all else being equal – the Blue Jays have always had a solid opportunity to improve their 91-win winning tally from last season and cement their way to the playoffs.

But one of the things that makes Toronto more interesting than a typical bounce filter is that some significant changes in the menu complicate the bounce formula. During the off-season, the Blue Jays lost their third most 2021 WW of any team, led by the departures of Marcus Simin (6.9 W), bowlers Robbie Ray (5.8) and Stephen Matz (2.6). them too acquired The sixth most war in 2021 between any team, led by bowler Kevin Gusman (5.4), Chapman (3.5) and bowler Yossi Kikuchi (1.5). In terms of total war for 2021 both outbound and inbound since the end of the season, only the New York Mets with free spending and Oakland A tanks have seen more change in value since last October.

Toronto is still receiving high marks in its off-season despite the turmoil, and its most important key players remain largely in place (including starter Jose Berrios, who signed a long-term contract extension in November). Having been a Bedouin for the past two years — due to Canadian border restrictions, the Blue Jays played “home” games in Buffalo and Dunedin, Florida, through most of the COVID-19 pandemic before finally returning to Toronto last July — the team is hoping for an entire season that looks more normal in 2022. In fact, after hurting Jays for the past two seasons, pandemic restrictions could actually help them this year by preventing non-vaccinated opponents from traveling to road matches in Canada. (Sorry, Aaron Judge.)

Primarily, though, 2022 is about whether Toronto can finally tap into the seemingly endless potential of its young local stars like Guerrero – who is in a much better position now than he was in last year’s 48-homer campaign. – Plus new additions. like Chapman. The talent is in the franchise’s first global series since winning back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993 – but that was also true last season, at least if you believe in the numbers. Now the Blue Jays will get the chance to complete this unfinished business from a year ago and turn their potential into a reality.

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