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Know your enemy: Toronto Blue Jays

This team is better than you think.

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays made the ALCS (and lost it) two years in a row, 2015 and 2016. (Now think about that. The Cubs came within one series of playing their first World Series game in 71 years in another country.)

Then they fell on hard times. Three straight losing seasons from 2017-19, losing more games each year (86, 89, 95).

I’m here to tell you that the Jays are going to be a better team this year. For one thing, their three sons of former MLB players — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette — were all rookies last year. They all had success, and now all are going into their first full seasons in the major leagues. All three have a very good chance of becoming All-Stars. Vlad Jr., just 20 years old in 2019, could be a superstar. The Jays ranked 23rd in runs scored in 2019. That ranking is likely to improve considerably in 2020.

The Jays also ranked in the bottom third in runs allowed in 2019 (20th). That’s likely to take a big step up with the additions of Chase Anderson, Tanner Roark and Hyun-Jin Ryu, all accomplished major-league starters. Once the Jays traded Marcus Stroman to the Mets, they didn’t really have anyone meeting that description in 2019. Even so, Toronto’s record after July 31 wasn’t terrible at 24-28. They’ll also have a healthy Matt Shoemaker back — he missed most of the last two years with various injuries. Last year’s injury was to a knee, so at least his arm is healthy.

Hey, I know that guy: Remember Rafael Dolis? He pitched in parts of three seasons (2011-13) for the Cubs. Now 32, Dolis has been in NPB in Japan for the last four years and put up solid numbers, especially a good walk rate (2.7 per nine innings). He could be one of those good under-the-radar guys in Toronto in 2020.

KEY ADDITIONS: Tanner Roark, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Travis Shaw, Joe Panik, Marc Rzepczynski, Jake Petricka, Chase Anderson

KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Clay Buchholz, Justin Smoak, Jason Adam, Derek Law

The Cubs will travel to Toronto to face the Blue Jays August 14-15-16.

This concludes the 2020 “Know your enemy” series. All the articles can be found in the StoryStream link below. Opening Day is just 19 days away!