2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Toronto Blue Jays

by Jordan McDonald
2020 Fantasy Baseball Bold Predictions

Welcome to another edition of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive featuring the Toronto Blue Jays!

We stay in the AL East for this week, as we highlight the only team with two home openers this season! The Blue Jays have relocated to Sahlen Field in Buffalo starting this month, and they are bringing their hot bats with them. In order to make headway in the division (and the AL as a whole), they will require steady production from the batting order.

Their prized acquisition George Springer has only played in four games this season. But that hasn't prevented the Blue Jays from finding offensive success. Let's break down how the rest of the team has fared in 2021.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Toronto Blue Jays

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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The man known as "Vladdy" has made a case for Fantasy MVP (and AL MVP) for the 2021 season. He is clobbering the baseball with a .335/.440/.665 slash line and 17 home runs. Now into his third season, Vladdy has started to show that elite potential that was placed on him as a top prospect.

Vladdy has always displayed his mammoth power since his debut in 2019. His maximum Exit Velocity has ranked in the top one percent over the last three years, but for this season, he has paired it with ranking in the top one percent in average Exit Velocity as well. Despite the powerful bat, his Barrel percentage never reached over 10 percent until this season, which is currently at 14.8 percent.

One reason for his breakout is the uptick in his walk rate. He has increased it by a full six percent and that suggests he is forcing pitchers to (reluctantly) throw him strikes and ultimately paying the price. His patience at the plate has turned him into an overall better hitter, as his xBA and xSLG are both ranked in the 97th percentile. And his wOBA of .461 is second among all MLB hitters, trailing only Byron Buxton.

Vladdy had a fifth-round ADP according to FantasyPros, so if you were one of those lucky managers who selected him, you received the biggest possible bargain of the 2021 season.

Marcus Semien

Semien is coming off an incredible May that resulted in AL Player of the Month honors. After a slow April, he has elevated his slash line to .301/.372/.546 to go along with 13 home runs. He has found this success as the Blue Jays' leadoff hitter, which is where Springer was supposed to be when he joined the team.

One difference between this season and his previous ones is the increase of power at the plate. Semien is posting the highest average Exit Velocity and Hard Hit Rate of his career. Specifically, his Hard Hit Rate of 44.8 percent is 10 percent higher than his career average. He is also posting a wOBA of .392 that is ranked in the 94th percentile across the league.

He may be riding a blazing hot streak, but there are signs that he will eventually come back to earth. His current strikeout rate of 25.3 percent is the worst mark of his career during the Statcast era. And despite the high batting average and slugging percentage, his xBA is only .240 and xSLG is .445.

Semien was a 2019 AL MVP finalist but saw his production deteriorate in 2020. Therefore, he signed a prove-it deal with the Blue Jays, which forced him to play a different position as well. However, both sides must be elated with the early results. But as the metrics suggest, he may not keep up this production all season, and he could be a prime sell-high candidate while he's scorching hot.

Bo Bichette

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It's unfortunate there are not advanced stats involving hair because Bichette would be the leader in every possible category. Although, his profile as a hitter should make up for that.

Upon first look, you may not perceive him as a power hitter but he has the metrics to back that up. Bichette owns a career Exit Velocity of 90.2 MPH and a Hard Hit Rate of 45.6 percent. And he has posted a higher number in both categories for this season, which includes a Hard Hit Rate of 50.6 percent.

He is currently hitting .262/.314/.475 with 11 home runs for this season. And the expected stats are just about the same, with an xBA of .255 and an xSLG of .473. However, there are a few metrics that may be worth some concern going forward. His Sweet Spot Percentage currently sits just under 30 after accumulating 37.5 percent during last season. Also, his Launch Angle of 4.3 degrees is significantly lower than the 12 degrees from last season as well.

Bichette has shown to be a dynamic hitter, but if he doesn't combine the power with solid contact, he should continue to display inconsistencies at the plate.

Teoscar Hernandez

Hernandez experienced a breakout season in 2020 by hitting .289/.340/.579 and 16 home runs in 50 games. There was skepticism about repeating that effort heading into this season because of the shortened season. However, he remains a steady option for this season with a slash line of .300/.352/.493.

Similar to his teammates, Hernandez possesses a powerful stroke and the underlying numbers support that. His Barrel percentage and average Exit Velocity are ranked in the top 10 percent across the league and his Hard Hit Rate is in the top 20.

And based on his expected stats, he should not see much of a regression. Previous to last season, he never had an xBA over .234, but last season he bumped that up to .294. And for this season, his xBA currently sits at .293, which is also within the top ten percent in the league.

Hernandez came with a hefty price on draft day due to his exceptional 2020 season, but he is rewarding those who banked on a repeat of his previous success.

Randal Grichuk

Grichuk headed into this season as the "fourth outfielder" with Springer, Hernandez, and Lourdes Guirrel Jr. ahead of him. Luckily for him, Springer's absence provided Grichuk with an opportunity and he has taken advantage with a .286/.318/.515 slash line and 11 home runs.

Grichuk is not known for his ability to hit for average, but he has improved that for this season. Recording a career high in Sweet Spot Percentage may be a reason for the increase in batting average. However, his xBA is only .266 so he may encounter a slump in the near future. He is also not known for his patience at the plate, and his walk rate of 4.2 is currently a career-worst for him.

Until Springer returns, Grichuk is the everyday centerfielder for the Blue Jays. And he should remain in the lineup until his bat turns cold. Therefore, he is another sell-high candidate on this team while his value is maximized.

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers

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