2019 Torono Blue Jays Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
Add the Toronto Blue Jays to the list of 2019 clubs that harbor no illusions of competing for a playoff spot and are looking more toward 2020 and beyond.
The Jays reached back-to-back ALCS in 2015-16 and largely brought the band back for 2017 but fell off to 76 wins. Toronto still thought it could compete a season ago with a veteran roster, but dropped to 73 victories and has tried to jettison as many of those older guys as possible toward a youth movement.
Manager John Gibbons was kicked to the curb and replaced by largely unknown Charlie Montoyo. He had been with the Tampa Bay Rays since their inaugural season in 1998, serving as a manager at various levels of the franchise's minor-league system. He was finally joined the big club in 2015 and served as Kevin Cash's bench coach last year.
Oddly, Montoyo is now the fifth former manager of the Durham Bulls, the Rays' Triple-A affiliate, in the majors, joining Tampa Bay's Cash, Minnesota's Rocco Baldelli (also hired this offseason), Atlanta's Brian Snitker and the Mets' Mickey Callaway. Somewhere, Crash Davis, Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh and Annie Savoy are smiling.
Toronto opens the season March 28 at home vs. Detroit.
Blue Jays Projected Lineup
Let's talk about a guy who won't open the season with the big club and probably won't be up until April 20 or so in mega-prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Baby Vlad is considered the top hitting prospect in the minors and an absolute sure thing with the bat. He hit .381 with 20 homers and 78 RBIs through four levels of minor-league ball a year ago.
Frankly, the team should have called him up in September but didn't for service time reasons. That's why he also wasn't going to be called up this year until about mid-April. That service-time loophole is going to be closed in the next CBA by the MLB Players' Association, I assure you. The Jays actually got somewhat "lucky" with Guerrero straining his oblique muscle in a spring training game, knocking him out for three weeks. So now the Jays have a legitimate reason to keep him down. The son of another former big-league star, Bo Bichette, also is very highly touted and should be up sometime this year. He, Baby Vlad and Lourdes Gurriel are the future of this franchise.
The Jays didn't do much this offseason. They traded former AL MVP Josh Donaldson to Cleveland last August, sent Aledmys Diaz to Houston this winter and let Troy Tulowitzki walk. No losses there. It's going to be largely an anonymous lineup to open the season. Gurriel is a really exciting second baseman. The 25-year-old Cuban was hampered by injuries as a rookie but hit .281 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in just 249 at-bats.
We are looking at a projected lineup, for now, of something like: OF Billy McKinney/Teoscar Hernandez, 2B Gurriel, 1B Justin Smoak, DH Kendrys Morales, OF Kevin Pillar, 3B Brandon Drury, SS Freddy Galvis, C Danny Jansen.
Blue Jays 2019 Projected Rotation & Closer
While the lineup leaves much to be desired, the rotation has potential if guys can stay healthy/return to previous form. Marcus Stroman, 27, was great in 2017 but was hurt and regressed last year to a 4-9 mark and 5.54 ERA. Aaron Sanchez was a Cy Young candidate and won the AL ERA title in 2016 but has made just 28 starts since due to injuries. He's still just 26.
The other three guys are all new: Matt Shoemaker, Clay Buchholz and lefty Clayton Richard. All veterans worth a flier on and who could be flipped to contenders. Shoemaker was second in the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year voting but has made just 23 combined starts the past two years. Buchholz looked done in 2017 but bounced back with a 7-2 record and 2.01 ERA in 16 starts in 2018 with Arizona. Richard is nothing special but will eat innings.
Last July, the Jays traded former All-Star closer Roberto Osuna, who had some off-field issues, to Houston for package that brought back closer Ken Giles. He was so-so in Toronto with 14 saves and a 4.12 ERA but has the job.
Blue Jays Futures Odds
At 5Dimes, Toronto has an "over/under" win total of 74.5, with the under a -130 favorite. The Jays are +4000 to win the AL East, +9000 for the pennant and +10000 for the World Series. Stroman is +8000 for the AL Cy Young and Sanchez +12500.
Blue Jays 2019 Predictions
Being honest, this team isn't really worth paying much attention to until Baby Vlad debuts - books don't put out Rookie of the Year odds this early, but he'll be a favorite if he's up when expected. The Jays will surely finish fourth in the AL East again, and FanGraphs projects 76 wins. That pitching staff should keep the team in most games. Go over the wins.
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