Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays Wild Card series preview

Toronto is either first or second best offense in the AL depending on how you view them.

The Blue Jays finished the regular season first in batting average (.264), first in on-base percentage (.329), first in slugging percentage (.431), and second in runs scored (775). The Yankees were first in the AL with 807 carries.

First baseman Vladimir Guererro Jr., who challenged Shohei Ohtani for the 2021 AL MVP award by leading MLB in home runs and runs, finished only fifth on his own offense in wins over substitutes. (That should be noted, though, in large part due to his negative impact on defense.) Guerrero Jr. hasn’t been quite as good offensively this year, but even a bad year for the 23-year-old is a great year for the average big league player.

The strength of the Blue Jays offense lies in their sheer numbers at the top of their star players. Toronto has a whopping six players — Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Bo Bichette, Alejandro Kirk, and Matt Chapman — who had at least 115 OPS+, meaning they were at least 15% better than the average hitter.

You can count the number of offenses across the league that have that depth in a lineup.

However, Toronto is slightly vulnerable from a pitching standpoint. The Blue Jays had the worst earned run average (3.87) of any playoff team in the league, allowing 679 runs overall. The Mariners allowed 623 for comparison.

In a short streak where Toronto will host every home game, their pitching depth might not matter. Toronto will rely on Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman as top starts, a pair who were miles better than average pitchers in 2022.

Manoah finished the year with a 2.24 ERA in nearly 200 innings, and Gausman threw 205 strikeouts and just 28 walks in 174 innings. The Blue Jays need them to be good because their offense can lead them to a win in every single game.

It’s going to be a tall order for the Mariners on both sides. Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays Wild Card series preview

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