The 2023 Blue Jays, Position by Position: An already strong infield got even better with the signing of Brandon Belt

Out of the five “Position by Position” articles, the infielders have seen the least amount of changes.

The infield was rather solidified coming into the off-season, but the Jays did manage to add an exciting piece at first base. Other than that, it has remained the same.
In this article, we’ll also look at some prospects who could earn a call-up at some point or another in 2023.
Let’s start with first base.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – First base:
Guerrero Jr. had quite the season in 2022. He slashed .274/.339/.480 with 32 homers in 706 plate appearances. Overall, he finished with a 132 wRC+, and also won a gold glove at first base!

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (@27vladdyjr) demolishes this ball.
Mid-season form
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) February 25, 2023

Still, it was a bit of a decline from his MVP-calibre 2021. That season, he slashed .311/.401/.601 with 48 homers in 698 plate appearances and finished with a 6.3 fWAR (compared to a 2.8 fWAR in 2022).
Guerrero was still great in 2022, but if he can find his 2021 form once again, that would put the Blue Jays over the top.
Santiago Espinal – Second base:
I wasn’t too sure who to put here, as the second base starter has yet to be determined. Whit Merrifield and Cavan Biggio were included in the outfield edition of Position by Position, so it seemed fitting to place Espinal here.
The 28-year-old infielder slashed .267/.322/.370 with a career-high seven homers in 491 plate appearances in 2022. He finished with a slightly below-average wRC+ of 99 but accumulated a 2.3 fWAR.

Santiago Espinal (@santdr13) with an absolute nuke to untie the game.
Hope he continues to tap into his power in 2023.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) February 25, 2023

This was in large part due to his defense, as he had a 4 Defensive Runs Saved and a 10 Outs Above Average in 945 innings at second …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Recommended Posts