How did the Toronto Blue Jays do after ESPN predicted the All-Star selections for 2020, despite there being no game this year due to COVID-19?
If this had been a normal year in Major League Baseball the Toronto Blue Jays would currently be on a break, with the All-Star Game set to be played on Tuesday. Instead, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to cancel the 91st edition of the game, with Los Angeles now hosting the event in 2022.
Despite the lack of festivites this year, ESPN‘s David Schoenfield still decided to go ahead and predict who would have been selected for the American League and National League rosters. It certainly made for some interesting reading.
For example, the San Diego Padres led all NL clubs with four selections, while the current World Series Washington Nationals were among four teams with three selections. Meanwhile in the AL, the New York Yankees led the way with five All-Star selections.
Of course what we’re most interested in, is Schoenfield’s decision to select Valdimir Guerrero Jr. for the Blue Jays. Even allowing for the polarising rule that at least one player from each ball club must be included, his selection is still an interesting one.
We know Guerrero Jr. is projected to be on the biggest stars in the game, in large part due to his exceptional ability with the bat. This was on full display during last year’s All-Star Home Run Derby:
However, there is no denying the 21-year-old had plenty of understandable teething problems during his debut campaign in the Majors. Make no mistake about it, he still has some way to go to fullfull his potential.
What makes Schoenfield’s decision particularly interesting, is that he selected Guerrero Jr. to play at first base. As the starter no less.
The Blue Jays only officially announced their decision to move the Montreal, Quebec native to first base last Friday, (while also seeing plenty of opportunities as the designated hitter). The timing was a surprise for many, with even the player himself long believing he would be focusing on third base for the 2020 season.
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Essentially what Schoenfield is alluding to is that Guerrero Jr. will adapt to playing at first base in a short time period, and rise to become the cream of the crop in the AL. While the Blue Jays and their fans would welcome this development, how realistic is such a scenario?
In fairness to Schoenfield, his decision to select the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. does come with a qualifier. The ESPN senior writer reasons that first base is the weakest position in the Majors, so even a small improvement from Guerrero Jr.’s rookie numbers would propel him to the top of the list.
From a historical perspective, the Blue Jays have had just one All-Star selection in each of the last three seasons. Overall, this has been the case in 20 of the 43 years since they joined the league in 1977.
It should come as no surprise the Blue Jays had a franchise-best seven All-Star selections in 1993, which was the year after their first ever World Series win and on the way to a second consecutive championship. The seven players included Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar and Paul Molitor, along with Joe Carter, Pat Hentgen, John Olerud, Duane Ward and Devon White.
Now it’s your turn. Who do you predict would have been selected for the Toronto Blue Jays, if there was an All-Star Game in 2020? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.