Don’t Panic Yet Over These Blue Jays

Fantasy managers shouldn't be concerned about these Toronto hitters.

Generally speaking, one of the keys to the Toronto Blue Jays‘ recent success has been a strong lineup. Toronto boasts playoff appearances in three of the last four seasons with the only non-postseason campaign coming in a 91-win season in 2021. During that same stretch, only four teams (Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay) have scored more runs. Just two (Atlanta and Los Angeles) have a higher wRC+ and wOBA.

So it probably comes as no surprise that with a 15-16 record through the end of April, lineup struggles are at the heart of it. Of course, there’s more to it than that, obviously. The pitching staff is third-to-last in the league in fWAR. Kevin Gausman has had a few poor starts, closer Jordan Romano missed time due to injury.

But it’s a lineup that has outscored just four teams that stands out.

Of course, that hasn’t been ideal for the Blue Jays, but it hasn’t been great for fantasy managers either.

Kevin Kiermaier, Alejandro Kirk, and Bo Bichette all have wRC+ metrics south of 70, while three others with at least 70 plate appearances (Cavan Biggio, Ernie Clement, and Daulton Varsho) are sporting xwOBA numbers below the .300 mark.

Unideal really is the aptest word, and it’s not a fun exercise to imagine where this offense would be without offseason signing Justin Turner (.376 on-base percentage, .356 xwOA in 109 plate appearances).

Still, there are some signs of hope on the horizon, both for the Blue Jays and fantasy managers alike in the form of lineup regulars Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Davis Schnieder, and George Springer.

All three should see their production fortunes improve considerably moving forward. If they’re on your fantasy team, improved numbers are coming. If they’re not on your fantasy team, and you happen to have a glaring need at either first base, second base or in the outfield, now might be the time to start working out a deal.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr.


What in the world is happening with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s production, you might ask?

Why is a player who’s topped 25 home runs and 93 RBI in each of the last two seasons, while hitting at least .260 both times, struggling so mightily from a surface-level standpoint?

Guererro Jr. entered play Wednesday hitting just .229 with a .331 on-base percentage, a .311 wOBA, a .119 ISO, and a .347 slugging percentage. All would be career-worsts by a decent margin if the season ended today. The 25-year-old has also added three home runs, 11 runs scored, and 11 RBI in 136 plate appearances.

A slight uptick in grounders and strikeouts might be partly to blame. Guerrero Jr.’s ground ball rate is up to an even 50.0% after finishing at 45.3% last year. He’s also striking out 20.6% of the time, another metric that would be in line to be the worst of his career if the season ended today. Still, it’s not an egregiously bad strikeout rate. It ranked in just the 54th percentile as of Wednesday.

Furthermore, what Guerrero Jr. is doing in terms of quality of contact points to a significant change in fortunes where his production is concerned, whether that’s in the coming days or weeks.

Let’s, for a moment, look at some blind resumes, if you’ll humor me.

Pretty similar, right? A few more whiffs here, and a slightly improved chase rate there. An elevated strikeout rate (though not too high) for Player A.

Player A, as you might have guessed based on the strikeout rate, is the Blue Jays slugger this year. Player B was Guerrero Jr. last year. Player C? That’d be the first baseman in 2021.

He’s more or less doing what he’s been doing for the last few years in terms of quality of contact and plate discipline standpoint, but just without the surface-level metrics to show for it. Moving him to your fantasy bench is fine temporarily if you are desperate for better production, but based on the quality of contact metrics, things could turn around extremely quickly for the Blue Jays star.


Davis Schneider


A preseason sleeper, at second base and in general, following a worried stretch run that saw the Schnieder log a staggering 17.8% barrel rate and a .328 ISO (!) to go along with a .355 xwOBA in 141 plate appearances, there was probably some sort of statistical regression coming in 2024.

After all, only 11 qualified batters since 2015 have topped that kind of barrel rate in a season.

Except… Schnieder hasn’t slowed down where the barrels are concerned.

We’re still in small sample size territory here, but the infielder’s barrel rate sits at 17.4% through 74 plate appearances as of the beginning of play on Wednesday. He’s also hitting .246 with a .338 on-base percentage, and three home runs during that span, turning in a .349 wOBA in the process.

And in all actuality, he probably should be just a bit more productive as well. The 25-year-old’s xwOBA sits at .374 with a slight gap between his slugging percentage (.446) and xSLG (.489). Furthermore, he’s also cut down on strikeouts in the early going. After striking out 30.5% of the time in 2023, that number is down to a much more manageable 25.7% so far this season. Elsewhere, his whiff rate has dropped from 37.3% to 29.3%.

Perhaps most encouraging still is the fact that after struggling somewhat against sliders in his initial stint in the Majors, the infielder has started to obliterate the pitch with regularity in 2024.

Davis Schnieder vs Sliders

Rostered in just 3% of fantasy leagues, per FantasyPros data, Schnieder makes for a must-add off the waiver wire. The power will continue to be there moving forward. And if he continues to start regularly, there’s a very real chance that the second baseman (who’s also eligible in the outfield in fantasy leagues) will finish the year among the 10 best players at his position where fantasy scoring is concerned.


George Springer


Just as Schnieder was a potential pre-season sleeper, Springer was a hitter to potentially stay away from at his ADP in drafts due to steadily declining quality of contact metrics over the past handful of years. In short, his overall production didn’t line up with where it did earlier in his career when he was routinely posting xwOBAs in the .360 to .400 range, and thus, elite fantasy production wasn’t necessarily to be expected.

George Springer Since 2021


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.

One response to “Don’t Panic Yet Over These Blue Jays”

  1. JMFL says:

    An even more apt way to put it is. Jays ownership loves the tax breaks it gets from owning the team and the free land downtown, but certainly doesnt care about baseball. Management sucks, just there to reno the skydome (ruined the batters eye and eliminated low outfield airflow that kept balls up) and increase ticket prices, and certainly does not understand baseball (jays routinely have to field 4 catchers). Manager is a rookie. Vlad and Bo are overrated, the rest are so lucky their is a team willing to play them regularly. I think they can finish above Tampa in the ALE but no one else. Toronto misses AA, but cant wait for my #27 GIDP Jersey

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