3 crucial numbers to watch for the Toronto Blue Jays 2022


At the end of the regular season, only one number counts: wins.

But sometimes even a lot of wins, say 91, are still not enough. So instead of living and dying in the W column, here are some other crucial numbers to track this season to gauge the success of the 2022 Blue Jays:

17% K-BB%

Hats off to Blue Jays director of pitching development Matt Buschmann for this one.

On screens suspended above the Toronto clubhouse in Dunedin, Fla., a pitching leaderboard tracks Toronto’s strikeout rate minus walk rate with the goal written in bold: 17%.

It may sound complicated, but the fundamentals of hitting more batters than you walk are the foundation of other key pitching stats like FIP and SIERA, and an easy recipe for run-prevention success. The Jays, who posted the seventh-best K-BB% last year (16.8%), chose 17% as their target because only one team in baseball history has posted a rate higher than 17% and n didn’t make the playoffs (Cleveland, 2019).

“Every team that’s 17 percent or more in the regular season has made the playoffs, like, 99 percent of the time,” Kevin Gausman said.

Gausman finished 15th in baseball in K-BB% last year at 22.8%.

78 games played

In his first season with the Blue Jays, George Springer played 78 games. Healthy, the output was undeniable – 0.907 OPS, 22 home runs, 2.4 bWAR. But oblique, knee and quad ailments cost him half the season.

Scroll to continue

Over the past five years, Springer’s 162 game/650 AP pace is a season of 40 homers, 102 RBIs and 5.3 bWARs. He hasn’t played more than 140 games in a season during that span, but even Springer’s 140 is All-Star stuff.

Toronto’s front office worked through the winter to replace the now deceased Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien, but 60 more games from George Springer would be an addition in itself. The Jays don’t lean on Springer for a full 162 and they left the designated hitter spot open to rotate him and the others on their feet. We’ve already seen some early signs of load management with Springer making their way into spring training, skipping the first week of in-game action.

The 32-year-old told Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun that he feels confident in his preparation for the offseason, he learned from 2021 plagued by injuries, and he enters the season feeling good. There’s no doubting what Springer is on the court, the Jays just need him.

Blue Jays outfielder George Springer hit 22 homers with a .907 OPS in 78 games last year

Blue Jays outfielder George Springer hit 22 homers with a .907 OPS in 78 games last year

58 Holds

The Blue Jays finished the 2021 season near average in most bullpen statistics: 16th in ERA, 15th in wOBA opponent, 13th in K-BB% and 20th in FIP.

But anyone who watched the Blue Jays in 2021 knows the bullpen was anything but average. Toronto relievers have flashed both ends of the spectrum, touching greatness and disaster. No stat sums up Toronto’s midseason pen struggles better than the team’s 58 catches, the fewest in baseball.

Jordan Romano and Tim Mayza blocked the final innings, but Toronto struggled at times to get the ball from the starter to the ninth. In high-leverage situations in the 6th through 8th innings last year, the Toronto relievers had an ERA of 11.91. After a few costly outbursts, Toronto’s bullpen has a chip on its shoulder, says Adam Cimber Inside the Blue Jays“Ethan Diamondas.

“We all know last year we missed the playoffs by one game,” Cimber said. “And as a bullpen, I think we’ve seen a few games slip away from us.”

Acquired mid-season, Cimber and Trevor Richards calmed down mid-set issues in the second half and Yimi García joined as another leverage option. Toronto’s roster and rotation remain the team’s obvious strengths, but a higher strike total will mean the bullpen group is doing its job.

Bonus stat: The Blue Jays intentionally walked the fewest batters in baseball last year (10). It doesn’t seem to correlate with success, as Toronto has tied the BWIs with the Tigers and Yankees, but now you know.


Comments are closed.