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Toronto Blue Jays Amongst AL Favorites

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Someday (hopefully) soon, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Tony Clark, the head of Major League Baseball’s Player Association, will come to agreement on a CBA for the foreseeable future. At that time, teams will look to finish their off-season moves and begin preparations for the 2022 season.

Meanwhile, fans will start to circle games on calendars that they wish to attend, new gear will be purchased and podcasters and sports media will start making their yearly predictions. One team that will be a very popular pick to represent the American League in the World Series are the Toronto Blue Jays.

Just Missed in 2021

The 2021 season for the Blue Jays was unfortunately lost due to inconsistent play and bad luck. The team started their season in Dunedin, Florida. Next they spent time at their AAA-site in Buffalo before finally returning home to the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Despite all the extra travel, the Jays still finished the regular season with a better record than the eventual World Series champions, Atlanta Braves.

Sadly, the Jays started the season with very inconsistent play, before turning it up a notch in August and making a serious run at both an AL Wild Card spot and the AL East Division title. At one point, the Jays not only looked like a lock for the Postseason but were quickly becoming a favorite across betting markets and analysts. For more information here is a review of bet365.

Unfortunately, right when it looked like October baseball would be coming, the Blue Jays once again cooled and missed the Playoffs. Despite the disappointing end, they ended up seeing their Ace, Robbie Ray, win the AL Cy Young Award while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finished second in the AL M.V.P. race.

Why 2022 Could be the Year

The Blue Jays will enter 2022 returning most of their star players on offense. Joining the junior Guerrero are fellow youngsters Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio as well as the still only 29-year-old Teoscar Hernandez. While the team did lose Marcus Semien to the Rangers the team should have more than enough fire power to compete.

Meanwhile, the pitching staff will have to replace the production of Ace Robbie Ray, which will most likely fall on the shoulders of Kevin Gausman, who signed a nearly identical contract. In addition, they inked 2021 trade acquisition Jose Berrios to a 7-year extension, while Alek Manoah should take another step forward in his first full season. Rounding out the rotation is Hyun-jin Ryu who will be looking to bounce back to his Cy Young runner-up form.

The American League Will be Tight

One issue for the Blue Jays will be competing in the fiercely competitive AL East. The reigning division champs, the Tampa Bay Rays, pose the biggest threat while the Yankees (and their huge payroll) will likely still make a splash this offseason. Meanwhile, the Red Sox made a surprising run to the ALCS and will be looking to continue to build confidence. Even the Orioles should take a slight step forward with MLB’s top prospect, Adley Rutschman set to join the big league roster.

Outside of the East, the White Sox are bolstered by a healthy Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Meanwhile the current AL Pennant holder, the Houston Astros, should continue their dominance in the AL West.

Looking Forward

The 2022 season should be highly competitive for MLB’s only Canadian team. A strong lineup led by Vlad Guerrero Jr. and a pitching rotation led by Gausman, Berrios and Manoah should place the Blue Jays in a strong position to win their first AL crown since 1993.

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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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