Should Toronto Blue Jays Be Considered World Series Contenders?

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(AP Photo/Scott Audette)
BetMGM Staff @BETMGM May 19, 2022, 1:50 PM

We’re nearly a quarter of the way into the 2022 MLB season, and while it’s still early, the Toronto Blue Jays are falling short of expectations.

MLB odds currently have them at +900 to win the World Series, but Toronto isn’t playing as well as many expected going into the season. They are one of the more popular teams when it comes to MLB betting.

Toronto Blue Jays World Series Odds +900

Granted, the Blue Jays could still meet those sky-high expectations by the time October rolls around, but there is definitely going to have to be an increased sense of urgency as the regular season marches on.

At 20-18, the Jays currently sit 8.5 games behind the New York Yankees for first in the AL East while manning the third and final AL Wild Card spot. Not bad, but surely not the type of start that was anticipated.

Boasting one of the best lineups in baseball, Toronto’s offense has yet to fire on all cylinders, ranked a measly 23rd in runs scored (140). The only clubs that have scored fewer runs than the Jays thus far are the Athletics, Royals, White Sox, Orioles, Pirates, and Tigers – all teams, outside of Chicago and Detroit (fellow disappointments), that are in the midst of a rebuild.

Last year’s AL MVP runner-up Vladimir Guerrero Jr., while slashing a respectable .284/.368/.470, hasn’t been his superstar self in the early going, with three of his seven home runs coming in one game back on April 3.

The same can be said of fellow superstar Bo Bichette, whose ultra-aggressive approach at the plate has the 24-year-old batting just .242 – well off last year’s average of .298.

Again, it’s early, and the Jays bats are far too talented to be held down much longer, but to say their offense has been nothing short of disappointing would be an understatement.

The performance of Toronto’s pitching staff hasn’t been as underwhelming, with the Jays sitting seventh in the AL in team ERA (3.67). Free-agent signee Kevin Gausman has more than lived up to his big contract, compiling a 2.52 ERA and a remarkable 57:3 K/BB ratio over 50 innings of work.

The 31-year-old’s stellar numbers have Gausman sitting second in the odds department for the AL Cy Young (+650).

However, if there is one area of concern, it’s in the bullpen, where collectively, the number of strikeouts has fallen considerably.

While Toronto’s Class-A affiliate down in Dunedin has seemingly been mowing down hitters left and right, the same cannot be said of the club’s MLB relievers. So far, the Jays bullpen ranks 26th, and 25th, respectively, in strikeout percent rate (21.0%) and swinging-strike rate (10.6%).

For context, all four of Yimi Garcia, David Phelps, Trevor Richards, and closer Jordan Romano are striking out far fewer batters than they were in 2021, something that will have to change.

Overall, considering Toronto’s offensive struggles, the fact the Jays still find themselves in a Wild Card spot is a testament to how good this team can be.

If the bats can begin to perform to the level we are accustomed to, in correlation with what will hopefully become a more dynamic bullpen, Toronto’s World Series aspirations may eventually be realized when it’s all said and done.

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Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.