Our beloved Jays are back in sunny Florida, with their first official workout starting today!
It’s no secret that the 2016 edition of the Blue Jays will be built on two things: a mammoth offence, and elite level defence. These elements will keep them in most games, but the pitching will decide whether they are chasing the playoffs or chasing the World Series.
Here are six reasons to be excited for the 2016 season:
1. We’ve got the offence
When you think of the Blue Jays, the first thing that comes to mind is the home run ball. That’s probably because they hit a lot of them. The 232 home runs they hit in 2015 were the most by any team. In fact, there were only three other clubs (Astros, Orioles, and Yankees) that eclipsed the 200 homer mark. This offence is far from a one trick pony however. These guys just plain mash, leading the league in doubles, and placing sixth in total hits. With their heavy hitters returning again this season, no opposing pitcher will be safe.
2. Defence wins championships
This phrase has echoed throughout sports history and you would be hard pressed to find a better defensive unit than the current Blue Jays. Sure, the Royals have a strong core, but even they have certain holes. Whether it’s Kevin Pillar flying through the air, or having two of the best shortstops in the game on one field, this team can do it all with the glove. Add Donaldson, Martin, and Smoak to the mix, and the plays this team makes on defence are worth the price of admission alone.
3. Marcus Stroman has the makings of a superstar
Taking over as the Ace of a team is never easy, especially when you’re replacing David Price. Marcus Stroman had the look of a star last year in spring training before a freak knee injury ended his season. Wait, it would have ended his season, if he wasn’t Marcus Stroman. Normally tearing an ACL would mean that a player should pack it in. Not only did Stroman make it back during 2015, but he took it to the next level in the playoffs and became the Blue Jays go-to pitcher. This season should be his break out.
4. The Jays have a taste for the dramatic
So many of their games seem like they have come straight out of prime time television. Early into the 2015 season, the Orioles thought they could intimidate Jose Bautista, which instead, only made him angry.
5. Improved Team Depth
Last season the Blue Jays got burned a few times by a lack of depth. Since Shapiro and Aktins have arrived, they’ve done nothing but fill the team with added depth in the rotation, bullpen, and Triple-A Buffalo. Last year, the Jays had six rookies on the opening day lineup out of pure necessity. There are always growing pains with rookies, so it’s no surprise that the Jays got off to a slow start in 2015. With the additions of Happ, Chavez, Storen, and Floyd, this team has a certain “flexibility” they didn’t last year, and look ready for a deep run into October. Expect a much better season start this year from the team in Blue.
6. We have a reason to watch this again, and again, and again
Get ready for a wild ride. It’s almost baseball season and the trophy case won’t fill itself.
~Written by Mark Brubacher (Guest Blogger)