Editor's note: Welcome to SI's MLB preview. Click here to view every team's outlook in 2020, including predictions, projections and, yes, a preview of the 2030 preview. Click here to read the Blue Jays fantasy preview.
It wasn’t so long ago that the Blue Jays reached the ALCS in consecutive years (2015 and ’16) and were playing to huge crowds at Rogers Centre, trading for stars like David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, celebrating Josh Donaldson’s MVP award and providing memorable moments like José Bautista’s bat-flip bomb off Sam Dyson.
It’s not likely they’ll be so competitive in 2020, but at least they have one of baseball’s most watchable young teams, led by three sons of All-Stars. You know about Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who was the best prospect in baseball for three years. He finally arrived in ’19, hitting .272 with 15 homers and holding his own at third base. Along with Vladito, the Jays introduced shortstop Bo Bichette, son of Dante, who hit .311 and slugged .571 while running the bases with abandon. Finally, Craig Biggio’s son, second baseman Cavan, showed a very modern skill set, drawing 71 walks in 430 plate appearances for a .364 OBP.
Of those three only Guerrero is a surefire star; Bichette and Biggio must show they can get the bat to the ball frequently enough to be productive. Still, the trio restoked interest and enthusiasm in Toronto, which the front office tried to extend this winter by signing longtime Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year, $80 million deal. The oft-injured Ryu, 32, has always been good when healthy (2.98 career ERA), and the acquisitions of righties Tanner Roark (who has averaged 31 starts and a 3.99 ERA over the last four seasons) and Chase Anderson (averaging 28 starts, 3.83 ERA over the same period) help fill out a rotation starved for internal options.
There’s a wide gap between Toronto and the top teams in the AL. But it’s not hard to see the Jays becoming an above-average offensive team with decent pitching, a combination that would put them in the middle of the wild-card race. — Joe Sheehan
Projected Record: 77-85, 4th in AL East
It’s not Toronto’s time yet, but the improvements to the rotation, coupled with full seasons for Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, should fuel a major jump.
Key Question: Who Has the Better Sophomore Season?
Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are the main reasons to watch the Blue Jays in 2020. The club is likely still a year away from contention, even with a core of three sons of Major Leaguers who are entering their second season in the show. Tracking their progress will be the most important thing, so we might as well make a friendly competition out of it while we watch. — Matt Martell
Moving Up: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., OF
Signed in 2016 from Cuba as a shortstop, he slugged .541 and learned to play leftfield in ’19. His defense and eye should both continue to improve.
Moving Down: Brandon Drury, IF
Since starting well in Arizona in ’15 and ’16, the infielder has hit .237/.287/.402, sans the speed or defense to make it worth his team’s while.
Watchability Ranking: A Better Game Is on–Probably
Will Vlad Guerrero, Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette bring back to Toronto in 2020? There’s more work left to do. But will the young talent be a blast to watch? No doubt. — Emma Baccellieri
Preview of the 2030 Preview
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: The bulky basher is once again on the rise, a surprising second (third?) act for the onetime wunderkind. Long questioned over the extra weight that taxed his knees and sapped his range, he showed up to spring training in ’25 looking like a tailback. Alas, the supplement he took to get slim—one endorsed by President Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson—turned up on MLB’s banned list. It has been a long slog back, but Vladito can once again fill out a uniform as impressively as he can a box score. — Craig Goldstein