2017 Fantasy Recap: Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays finished the 2017 season with 86 losses, their most since losing 88 games in 2013. Rebounding from that loss-filled year, the Jays won nine more games in 2014 than 2013, and then made back-to-back playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016. This time around, they scored just 4.3 runs per game, the second-fewest in the American League this season.
Toronto was had horrible luck in 2017, from Aaron Sanchez’s season-long blister issue to Josh Donaldson’s early calf trouble to the rapid decline of Jose Bautista. They’re hoping that this season was a fluke, and will try to patch things together this offseason while trying to build more depth in their pitching rotation.
First baseman Justin Smoak was one of the few positive spots for the Blue Jays, finishing with a slash line of .270/.355/.529, and leading the team in every single batting category of note: hitting average, home runs (38), RBI (90), on base percentage, and total number of hits (151). He’ll be one of the players they hope will play it back again next year.
However, next year’s run may not included right fielder Jose Bautista. Bautista is set to become a free agent after the Blue Jays declined his option for 2018. He’ll be 37 in a couple weeks, coming off a season in which he hit .203 and was worth minus-1.7 WAR. Maybe some team invites him to spring training, but he’s not going to get a guaranteed a job and given that he’s not exactly the most well-liked guy around the league, his career could be over.
Toronto needs to get lucky and see a rebound season from shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who hit .249 with seven homers in 2017 and is under contract for the next three years for $58 million. The once elite shortstop again dealt with health issues this year, though his ankle injury isn’t initially expected to be an issue for spring training 2018. Either way, there’s plenty of skepticism over whether the 32-year-old can be an effective piece in shallow fantasy leagues, especially since middle-infield offense has enjoyed a boom period in the last few years.
Veteran designated hitter Kendrys Morales was one of the better bats in the lineup, though he did see his batting average fall from 2016’s mark of .263 to .250 during his first season with the Blue Jays. However, his power remained intact as he slugged 28 home runs and notched 85 RBI.
Toronto recently re-signed right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada to a one-year extension, after he led the team in strikeouts this year (176). After posting a 1.67 ERA through his first four September starts, Estrada crashed back to earth in his final outing of the year. The veteran righty will return to Toronto’s rotation next year hoping to improve significantly on the disastrous 4.98 ERA he put together in 2017.
He’ll join right handed pitcher Marcus Stroman, who led the team with 13 wins this year. Stroman finishes the year as a borderline top-30 starting pitcher in terms of earned fantasy value, but he did not add to his strikeout rate as some hoped, and his walk rate went in the wrong direction.