Toronto Blue Jays: 81 wins
- Baseball Prospectus: 79 wins
- Fangraphs: 86 wins
The projection models have wildly different takes on the 2018 Blue Jays, and for good reason. It’s hard to get a handle on how good this aging team can be this year. Toronto sat in last place for most of last season before slipping past the free-falling Orioles in the final days of the year. Injuries and the continued decline of key players pushed the Jays below .500 after back-to-back trips to the ALCS.
Toronto lost Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, Devon Travis, Aaron Sanchez, Steve Pearce and J.A. Happ for long stretches last year, and never recovered. The offense scuffled, dragged down by Jose Bautista, who had a .674 OPS in nearly 700 plate appearances in his final season as a Jay. It was an ugly sendoff for Joey Bats.
There’s still enough talent on the roster for the Blue Jays to maintain fringe contender status. Sanchez must pitch a full season, while Estrada and Happ bounce back. The offense will still pale in comparison to the potent squad of 2015, but will be better with a healthy Donaldson in a walk year.
Conclusion: While I wouldn’t bet on the Blue Jays to make the playoffs, they are better than a .500 ballclub. However, if the team starts slowly, it may be hard to justify holding onto Donaldson through the trade deadline. If he is traded, that would kill any hope of reaching 81 wins for Toronto.