There are a lot of platitudes about the postseason. "It's a crapshoot." "Anyone can win." Some of this is cliche but so many of these narratives are rooted in truths. How many times have we seen a team get hot at the end of the season and win it all? The 2019 Washington Nationals, the 2021 Atlanta Braves. Both teams got hot and won it all. In 2022, a lot of people are talking about the Astros, Yankees, Braves, and Dodgers.
What about the Blue Jays? Here are a few reasons the Blue Jays could surprise everyone and go to the World Series.
The Blue Jays can hit the ball. Overall this season here is their numbers.
*4th in runs scored
*7th in home runs
*3rd in OPS
*3rd in OBP
*3rd in SLG
Are you seeing a pattern? The Blue Jays are really great at hitting. Earlier in the season, the Blue Jays had some players underperform. Bo Bichette has really hit his stride in the second half. Alejandro Kirk, Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman, George Springer, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are players you do not want to have to face in a playoff series. Unless a team can neutralize the lineup of the mighty Blue Jays, they are scary in a 5 or 7 game series. Overall, the Jays have 9 players with OPS+ over 110.
Overall, the Blue Jays' pitching was underwhelming considering how aggressive they were in picking up arms. Jose Berrios has been putrid. Yusei Kikuchi has also been bad. That is where the overall mediocrity ends, though. Alek Manoah is a legitimate Cy Young candidate. He is 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA and an ERA+ of 176. In a seven-game series, he could possibly pitch three times. Ross Stripling has been the surprising standout. Stripling has an ERA+ of 129 and an ERA just at 3. Kevin Gausman has not been as good as you would think, but I predict that in a playoff series he could resemble the All-Star he was back in 2021. The bullpen has a few big pieces that could send them into the big show. Jordan Romano has been nearly flawless, racking up 36 saves. Adam Cimber is the Jays' most active reliever, appearing in 76 games with an ERA under 3. Throw in some specialists like Yimi Garcia and David Phelps—you have yourself a good playoff bullpen.
The X Factor
The X factor in the playoff is that all your pieces have to perform to the level at which they appear to be. Execution. It always comes down to execution. The team has to hit with runners on and in pressure situations. Your sluggers need to slug, bullpen pieces need to get outs, and defense has to hold. The Blue Jays have all the talent at all the positions they need. The pitching leaves just a little to be desired against elite teams, but they have the talent and arms to do it. The Blue Jays could shock the world.