Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Season Preview By: Peter Snyder

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The Toronto Blue Jays had a disappointing 2017 season. They came in with high hopes, but finished the year with a lack luster 76-86 record which gave them an early offseason. This year however, the Jays are trying to forget about the past and live in the present. This ball club has an array of talented athletes and may surprise some people in 2018.

You can start with their arms.. The Blue Jays have a strong 1-2-3 punch in their starting rotation that is one of the more durable in baseball and is capped off by a guy that I think will contend for a Cy Young this year .  The Blue Jays do not know  exactly what order these three will pitch in so I will just have to break it down out-of-order. We start with J.A Happ, the veteran lefty from Illinois. Happ is looking to build on a somewhat mediocre season in which he finished with a 10-11 record with a 3.53 ERA. Due to his age, Happ is by no means an Ace anymore, but he is a reliable starter who the Blue Jays will count on this year.  Than we go to Marco Estrada, the righty from Mexico who’s curveball will mesmorize you. Estrada is the kind of guy that is not going to wow you, but certainly does not have wipe out stuff.  However, his stuff is good enough to get the job done and he will figure out a way to win ball games. Now we go to my favorite pitcher in all of baseball, Marcus “The Stro Show” Stroman. Stroman is one of the most cocky, confident pitchers out there and I love every second of it. He brings out a swagger to the mound that I absolutely live for. I  will drop what I’m doing all summer to watch this guy take the hill. Stroman is coming off an impressive 2017 campaign, finishing the season with a 13-9 record and a 3.09 ERA. He also pitched two complete games in 2017 and I think he will toss a no-hitter in 2018. Now my friends think I’m crazy and you might think I’m crazy reading this too, but this guy is talented enough to win a Cy Young.  If not this year, he will one in the next 3-5 years. Write it down because that is a guarantee.

The Toronto Blue Jays are also one of the best defensive teams in all of baseball. They finished the year with only 92 combined fielding errors and a .985 team fielding percentage in  2017. The defense is led by 3B Josh Donaldson who guards the hot corner like its nobody business and CF Kevin Pillar who should have at least 4 gold gloves by now. This team also can swing the sticks at a high rate and it is not an offense you want to face when they are rolling. That being said, last year this offense had trouble rolling and found themselves in a bunch of offensive funks.

The Blue Jays offense is led by Josh Donaldson who if you have not caught on, is an overall superstar. Donaldson finished the 2017 year with a .270 BA, drove in 78 runs and hit 33 home runs. Donaldson has the type of power swing you can only dream about and I think he is going to have a huge 2018 season. Next to Donaldson is SS Troy Tulowitzki who is battling a heel injury, but should be ready to go for opening day. Tulo was out for most of the season with the injury so he is very anxious to get back out on the diamond and help his team win. When Tulo was at his best, he was one of the best hitters in the game, but I do not know if I can say the same now. I do not know how much of an impact he will have during the upcoming season. The Jays have a reliable catcher in Russel Martin who will give you close to 20 homers a year and a power hitting DH in Kendrys Morales who I think will hit 35 homers in 2018. Their offense was also improved in the offseason with the acquisition’s of veteran OF Curtis Granderson and talented OF Randal Grichuk. Overall I think this offense in much improved from last season and the numbers at the end of the year will show just that. 

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My final conclusion of this 2018 season is that they are good but not great and to make it to the post season you have to be great. They have a GREAT player in Josh Donaldson but how far can that take you. They have a stud pitcher in Marcus Stroman but he can only pitch once every four or five days. I have this Blue Jays team finishing with a 77-85 record and have them finishing fourth in the A.L. East. Although this team will not win a boat load of games, they have a lot of exciting players and are defiantly a team you want to watch for during this upcoming season.

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