Since the July 31 MLB trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays have amassed an 8-6 record and have been playing their absolute best baseball of the season.
Now, granted, seeing where this team is sitting in the standings, this little spurt doesn’t really matter much in the context of this season, but taking a few steps further back to look at the bigger picture of the franchise’s future, these positive steps Toronto is taking right now could be vital down the road.
Progress made, no matter how small, is still progress made.
Over the course of August, the Blue Jays boast an OPS of .871 with 32 home runs. Prior to the calendar flipping to August, Toronto sported a dismal .713 OPS, averaging closer to 39 home runs for entire months.
In other words, the Blue Jays have improved dramatically at the plate and it’s for incredibly obvious reasons.
Bo Bichette came up on July 29, and since then he’s been Toronto’s best hitter, slashing an astounding .365/.420/.689 with four home runs and 12 doubles in 81 plate appearances thus far.
More importantly than his individual success, is the fact that his booming bat has also proved to be an effective table-setter for the rest of the team, sparking an 11-6 record since his call up.
But as good as Bichette has been, it’s not fair to say that his arrival in the Show is the lone reason for this late-season Blue Jays surge.
Perhaps most encouraging for the Blue Jays, fortuitously coinciding with Bichette’s call-up, is the fact that other apparent pieces of Toronto’s future have also come on strong.
For example, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is slashing .333/.385/.617 with three home runs and 14 RBI since Bichette first came up, Randal Grichuk boasts a slash line of .323/.353/.723 with six homers and 13 RBI and Danny Jansen and Teoscar Hernandez have turned things around with OPS percentages of .971 and .936, respectively.
The only players of significance who likely will be part of Toronto’s plan moving forward who haven’t received an apparent boost from Bichette’s arrival are Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.610 OPS) and Cavan Biggio (.750 OPS).
Gurriel, of course, has been hurt and was placed on the 10-day injured list, while Biggio has still performed to task, but he just hasn’t played as well as he did earlier in the season.
Both Gurriel and Biggio played exceptionally in June and have cooled off, but seeing as we’re dealing with small sample sizes here with this month of August anyway, even just knowing that both of Gurriel and Biggio are capable of such effective play is encouraging to know, just as it has been for the Blue Jays as a whole so far this month.
As mentioned before, nothing the Blue Jays is doing is of consequence anymore to this season, but the gains this team’s young players have shown of late – that resulted in a 19-4 obliteration of the Texas Rangers this week – is a good sign of what the Blue Jays could be.
So, in general, it’s been a good week for the Blue Jays, one that is reflected in the latest edition of the MLB Power Rankings.
1 (3) New York Yankees
2 (2) Los Angeles Dodgers
3 (1) Houston Astros
4 (7) Atlanta Braves
5 (4) Tampa Bay Rays
6 (5) Minnesota Twins
7 (6) Cleveland Indians
8 (9) Oakland Athletics
9 (11) Washington Nationals
10 (8) Chicago Cubs
11 (16) St. Louis Cardinals
12 (10) Boston Red Sox
13 (14) Arizona Diamondbacks
14 (15) New York Mets
15 (12) Milwaukee Brewers
16 (13) Philadelphia Phillies
17 (17) San Francisco Giants
18 (18) Texas Rangers
19 (20) Cincinnati Reds
20 (19) Los Angeles Angels
21 (23) Toronto Blue Jays
22 (21) San Diego Padres
23 (25) Chicago White Sox
24 (22) Colorado Rockies
25 (24) Pittsburgh Pirates
26 (28) Kansas City Royals
27 (26) Seattle Mariners
28 (27) Miami Marlins
29 (29) Detroit Tigers
30 (30) Baltimore Orioles