2024 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Busts: Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays players you should and should not draft in 2024.

The 2024 iteration of the Toronto Blue Jays might look a bit different on the field.

Mainstays Matt Chapman and Hyun Jin Ryu both hit free agency, as did the likes of Jordan Hicks, Brandon Belt, and Whit Merrifield. And while the team did re-sign outfield Kevin Kiermaier, there’ll be plenty of roster turnover.

Despite that though, much of the fantasy potential and upside that has made Toronto such a fantasy-friendly team remain. The lineup is still in reasonably good shape with Bo Bichette and Vladimir Gurerro Jr leading the way, not to mention four other batters, minimum 300 plate appearances, who finished with a wRC+ north of the 102 mark.

The rotation, in part due to the lineup, should still continue to be a quality source of pitching wins as well. Last year, four different Toronto starters logged double-digit wins, and they have a good chance of repeating that feat, or at least coming close to it, again in 2024.




Davis Schneider


2023 Stats: (141 PA): .276 AVG, 23 runs scored, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 1 SB

With Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. respectively entrenched at shortstop and first base and Matt Chapman still a free agent to this point, it leaves a pair of infield positions in second base and third base potentially up for grabs for Davis Schneider to establish himself as a full-time starter.

In addition to Schnieder, the club has Santiago Espinal, Cavan Biggio, Otto Lopez, and offseason signing Isiah Kiner-Falefa on hand as options at both second and third.

However, if Schneider is even half as successful at making quality contact as he was down the stretch in 2023, the infielder should have no trouble finding consistent plate appearances in Toronto’s lineup.

In 141 plate appearances, the 24-year-old hit .276 with a .404 on-base, eight home runs, a 176 wRC+, and a stolen base for the American League Club. Most notably, he added a 17.8% barrel rate, a .446 xwOBAcon, a .355 xwOBA, and a 38.4% hard-hit rate.

Among players with at least 140 plate appearances from August 4 (when he made his major league debut) onwards, the rookie was one of four players to rank in the top 10 in the league in both barrel rate and wRC+. The other three? Yordan Alvarez, Bryce Harper, and Marcell Ozuna.

And while Davis’ 2023 sample size comes with the obvious small sample size caveat, as well as a few somewhat unsustainable numbers, the fact that Schneider collected barrel rates at such a high rate is certainly promising for his fantasy prospects moving forward – especially in a Toronto lineup that could need to replace the power production lost when Chapman became a free agent.


Kevin Gausman


2023 Stats (185.1 IP): 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 237 K, 12 W

In more ways than one, Kevin Gausman isn’t an obvious sleeper. What with a 2.97 FIP in 185 innings, the league’s (joint) third-highest fWAR among starting pitchers, a third-place finish in American League Cy Young voting, and a 93rd percentile finish in strikeout rate.

But, having said all that, the 33-year-old might actually be underrated heading into the 2024 season.

A veritable weekly matchup (and league) winner with his strikeout and ERA production, Gausman struck out at least 10 batters in nine of his 31 starts. He was also one of just five starting pitchers (and 16 pitchers in general) to finish in the 87th percentile or better in both strikeout rate and chase rate.

What’s more, the ace also logged nine starts where he allowed no runs with at least six innings of work. Four of those starts also happened to be outings when he struck 10 or more batters. Overall, he gave up three or fewer earned runs in 25 of his 31 starts.

So, you get it. He’s pretty good.  So good, that you can justifiably put him in the mix for the best fantasy starting pitcher overall in the sport heading into 2024.

But, and this is the key bit, Kevin Gausman could’ve been even better last season.

For one thing, despite all the strong starts and the league’s third-lowest FIP, the hurler finished with only 12 pitcher wins. That win total is certainly nothing to scoff at, but it lags considerably behind the win totals of pitchers like Spencer Strider, Justin Steele, Zac Gallen, and Zach Eflin, who logged similar (and in some cases slightly higher) FIP numbers last year.

2023 MLB FIP Leaders

Elsewhere, Gausman had three uncharacteristically poor starts, starts that no doubt took a toll on his season-long numbers, despite the pristine condition they finished in. The Red Sox registered 10 hits, a walk, and eight earned runs against him in 3.1 in Boston on May 4. The Astros posted eight runs, seven hits, eight earned runs, two home runs and a pair of walks in 4.2 innings of an April 17 start against the right-hander. Then there was Minnesota accounting for seven hits, six earned runs, four walks, and a home run in 4.2 frames of work against Gausman on June 11.

Gausman has, admittedly, allowed six or more runs in 20 different outings in his career, though 16 of those occurred before his career resurgence in 2020 while with San Francisco, and of the remaining four, just one happened prior to 2023.




Chris Bassitt


2023 Stats (200.0 IP): 3.60 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 186 K, 16 W

Speaking of starters who had a few unideal outings, Bassitt was the victim of a few of them in 2023.

The veteran starting pitcher allowed five or more runs on four different occasions, including a trio of outings where he was torched for seven or more earned runs. Though from a surface-level standpoint, they didn’t have a cataclysmic impact on most of Bassit’s season-long numbers. In fact, the 35-year-old’s numbers looked reasonably similar to what they have been in the past. Furthermore, he won double-digit games in the fourth-straight full season, no doubt boosting his standing with fantasy managers.

Chris Bassitt Since 2019

Overall, Bassitt also largely continued to limit mistakes. He finished with a walk rate in the 68th percentile or better for the fourth year in a row and a hard-hit rate in the 76th percentile or better for the third year running.

All that being said, the starter’s overall whiff rate dropped for the third consecutive year. What’s more, the average velocity on his sinker and four-seamer dropped nearly a mile per hour each – 0.9 MPH each to be exact.

Chris Bassitt’s Whiff Rates Since 2021

The fact that Bassitt throws eight different pitches with varying types of regularity should help insulate him a bit more than other pitchers against declining pitch velocity in places. Still, the drop in both overall whiff rate and fastball velocity isn’t ideal.

Especially when paired with the poor outings.

In three starts, one in April against St. Louis, one in May against the Twins, and one in August against Baltimore, Bassitt allowed a combined 24 earned runs in just 10.1 total innings, surrendering 30 hits, nine home runs, and three walks in the process. All three starts came on the road.

It’s a tiny sample size to be sure, and perhaps one of the driving forces behind the starter’s home run per nine innings rate spiking this past season, but for a pitcher who’s been so markedly consistent, even a handful of those outings is worth noting. While Gausman’s poor outings look like outliers, Bassitt’s have come as part of something of a mini-trend, especially when paired with the declining whiff rate.

In the entirety of his career, all 156 starts of it, Bassitt has given up seven or more runs just six times. Half of them came last year and five total have occurred in either 2022 or 2023.


George Springer


2023 Stats: (638 PA): .258 AVG, 87 runs scored, 21 HR, 72 RBI, 20 SB

Long one of the league’s best outfielders at the plate, Springer has seen his quality of contact metrics start to dip in recent years. More specifically, they’ve dropped nearly every year in recent campaigns to the point that his still quality counting stats (like logging a 21 home run, 20 stolen base season in 2023) are to the point of papering over the quality of contact concerns, at least where fantasy production is considered.

Because there are some concerns here.

George Springer Since 2021

Should both his improved whiff rate from 2023 – Springer logged a 22.3% whiff rate which was the lowest metric he’d logged in that statistical category in the last nine years – and increased stolen bases total carryover in future seasons, it’d help mitigate things to a degree, but the drop in quality contact is hard to ignore, as is Springer’s (relative) drop in production against four-seamers this past season.

One of the key pillars in Springer’s strong statistical seasons, the outfielder has put up run values of +12, +7, +25, +18, and +15 against four-seamers in full seasons dating back to the 2017 campaign.

This year, that number dropped to -2.

And while he still managed a .375 xwOBA against the pitch, it was the first time since 2017 that that metric hasn’t finished above the .410 mark.

What’s more, and perhaps not exactly ideal considering the production against four-seamers, opposing pitchers seemed to attack Springer with sliders more often.

George Springer Against Sliders In 2023

Sliders accounted for 22.8% of the pitches the outfielder saw in 2023, the highest mark of any pitch not called a four-seamer that he’s seen in a single season in his career. And while his expected metrics against sliders were a bit better than the surface-level ones, it’s not exactly ideal.


Photos by Julian Avram, Gavin Napier | Icon Sportswire
Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@KUWasemiller on Twitter / @kurt_player02 on Instagram)

Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

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