Blue Jays: 3 things that can lead to World Series in 2021

Nate Pearson of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Nate Pearson of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Blue Jays
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. must have a breakout season for Blue Jays

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. needs to be the Josh Allen of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Through two seasons as a pro, Allen looked like a potential bust with the Buffalo Bills. Then, in that magical year three, his stats took a quantum leap, as he lead his team to the AFC Championship game.

Allen’s success was buoyed by the addition of star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and although a baseball team’s batting order doesn’t have the same chemical relationship as a quarterback and a receiver, Guerrero Jr. will be protected like he’s never been protected before.

The cat is out of the bag with Bo Bichette, and with the additions of Springer and Semien, Guerrero Jr. should see more of those precious fastballs. This will be a huge change for him, as from Bluefield to New Hampshire to Buffalo to Toronto, the former blue chipper has always been priority number one for opposing staffs.

Guerrero Jr. has also been putting in work this offseason. The 21-year-old (!) played in the Dominican Winter League with Leones del Escogido, hitting .359 with two home runs and 11 RBI over 42 plate appearances. He only struck out six times.

The Montreal native has also shed some pounds, fuelling rumours that he could potentially return to third base.

And that brings us to Guerrero Jr.’s defence. The late camp decision to move him to first base last season produced predictably shaky results. Baseball is a team sport on the diamond, sure, but the true ebbs and flows that we love about team sports are felt on the lineup card.

Due to Guerrero Jr.’s positional switch, Rowdy Tellez saw less playing time, and the team had to go to a third base by committee approach. To compound matters, Guerrero Jr. also had to DH, meaning more of Teoscar Hernandez’s shaky glove in the field.

In sum, the move cost the team more than just the errors that Guerrero Jr. himself committed at first.

If the Blue Jays seriously want to compete for baseball’s ultimate prize this season, they need an uptick in production at the plate, and at least playable defending at either third or first from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. A fringe all-star campaign from the slugger seems almost a necessity for this team to make a run at a championship.