Blue Jays 2018 Season Preview
Ready to check out our 2018 Blue Jays predictions? This year’s Toronto Blue Jays are not much different from the rosters that made noise in the postseason the past couple of years, but the sands are shifting underneath their – feet? Talons? Claws? You get the idea.
MLB Blue Jays Predictions & Handicapping Insight
Toronto has a strong starting rotation, a bulldog closer and a lineup that can still launch the ball with boppers like Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak and Randal Grichuk. Still, the Jays’ depth is hurting in a progressive era in Major League Baseball where versatility is the law of the land.
Toronto’s old-school constructed lineup could come back to bite it in the rear, especially because the Jays are such an old team with so many health concerns littered among the dugout like slobbery Bazooka Joe or sunflower seed carcasses.
2018 MLB Team Previews – Toronto Blue Jays
- American League East +600
- American League +1600
- World Series +2500
- OF Randal Grichuk
- SS/2B Danny Espinosa
- IF Aledmys Diaz
All three of these acquisitions can be important contributors, since the health of Tulo and Devon Travis can’t be counted on remotely and Toronto needs to cobble together some offense with the decline and departure of Jose Bautista. Grichuk, Espinosa and Diaz have all had their moments, but their previous teams (Cardinals, Mariners/Nats, and Cardinals, respectively) all turned their back on these guys for one reason or another.
Toronto is hoping to find value in imperfect veterans, which is a good rule of thumb in today’s front offices where most everybody either has an Ivy League degree, or advisors that do.
- OF Jose Bautista
- P Joe Smith
- IFs Ryan Goins & Darwin Barney
With the exception of Smith, who was dealt at the deadline last season, these losses may largely be seen as addition-by-subtraction, although of course “Joey Bats” is an all-time franchise icon.
Blue Jays Predictions: Projected Lineup:
- RF Randal Grichuk
- 2B Devon Travis
- 3B Josh Donaldson
- 1B Justin Smoak
- DH Kendrys Morales
- SS Troy Tulowitzki (INJ)/Danny Espinosa
- LF Steve Pearce
- C Russell Martin
- CF Kevin Pillar
Sure, it isn’t the thunder-and-lightning we saw from the likes of Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion a few years ago, but there is still the potential for some thump in this lineup. Yet, health is a major question mark.
Veteran SS Tulowitzki was acquired a few years ago to be a lineup linchpin, but injuries and ineffectiveness have made that look like a bogus investment. His ankle surgery and heel spur problems seem to be worse than people are letting on, so who knows when he takes the field next. The Jays picked up former Washington IF Espinosa off the scrap heap to try and plug a gap.
Two-bagger Devon Travis has always offered loads of promise, especially offensively, but he’s never been able to stay healthy. This season might be his last kick at the can to stick in the regular lineup. All eyes are also on 1B Smoak, an All-Star last season and eager to prove that his excellent 2017 wasn’t just an aberration. Third baseman Josh “The Bringer of Rain” Donaldson is predictably awesome.
Cubs Predictions: Projected Rotation:
- RH Marcus Stroman
- RH Aaron Sanchez
- LH J.A. Happ
- RH Marco Estrada
- RH Joe Biagini/Jaime Garcia
When healthy, the Blue Jays have, at least one-through-four, as solid a rotation as you’re going to find in baseball. Sanchez showed oodles of ability two years ago, but 2017 saw him beleaguered with blister problems on his throwing hand. Stroman, the de facto ace until Sanchez’s health is cemented, is equally good at inducing ground balls and running his mouth. Still, what makes him good is the same thing that makes Toronto’s front office bristle regularly.
Further down the rotation, Happ and Estrada are reliable. Estrada had a bit of a tough go last year, but his bulldog mentality helped him make it an average season when all was said and done.
Cubs Predictions: Projected Closer:
- RH Roberto Osuna
The young Mexican is fearless and more often than not, Osuna will give you a dogged and effective performance in a high-leverage situation. He did worryingly cough up leads more often than usual in 2017, but he’s still Toronto’s best option for the closer’s job.
Keep an eye on Korean Seung Hwan Oh, who has struggled procuring a visa for the U.S. and Canada, but should still serve as Bobby O’s set-up man. Elsewhere in the ‘pen, Ryan Tepera and longest-tenured Jay Aaron Loup have their time and place, but can get their boobies augmented if they aren’t used properly.
2018 Toronto Blue Jays Prediction:
Toronto’s fans and front office – GM Ross Atkins and team president Mark Shapiro – seem to be in the same spot, and it’s a bit of a pathetic dance. No one quite knows whether the Blue Jays are contenders are rebuilders, though a harsh look at reality suggests it is the latter. The Yankees are stronger than ever and are only getting better, and the Red Sox are littered with MVP candidates in or approaching their prime, so it looks like swimming against the current for this Blue Jays team.
There is still loads of talent in the roster, and if Toronto’s starting five stay healthy (the depth is woeful) the Jays can still definitely hang around in the American League. It’s not crazy to think the Jays could grab a wild-card spot in the AL. Yet, come trade deadline, if the Jays are a few games out of a wild-card berth, the sensible thing to do is to trade Donaldson, give youngsters like Hernandez, Pompey and Smith an extended shot, and wait with bated breath for mega-prospects Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Sadly, it looks like Toronto had its shot when the Yankees were re-tooling and the Red Sox were underperforming and squabbling, and the window might be slamming shut quicker than people predicted.
What do you think of our 2018 Toronto Blue Jays predictions? Comments are welcome below.
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