What occurred with the Blue Jays in 2023?

The Blue Jays have long been forgotten in the ongoing postseason, as the attention shifts to the ALCS featuring the Texas teams and the NLCS showdown between the D-backs and the Phillies.

For the Blue Jays, there’s little consolation in this reality. Despite their impressive roster on paper, their recent postseason struggles have left them grappling with disappointment, with a need for a potential shift in their team’s identity becoming increasingly apparent.

Mark Shapiro, the team’s president and CEO, expressed his profound disappointment in the team’s failure to meet the expectations of their dedicated fanbase. Despite their talent, the Blue Jays have consistently fallen short in critical moments, resulting in a string of Wild Card Series sweeps over the past few seasons.

Here’s a brief review of the 2023 season:

Key Moment Vladimir Guerrero Jr. pickoff in Game 2

The enduring image of Guerrero Jr. being picked off at second base during the Wild Card loss encapsulates the essence of the Blue Jays’ season. Despite a roster brimming with talent, the team often struggled to deliver when it mattered most, squandering opportunities to advance in crucial games.

Lesson Learned The complexity of ‘windows’

While the Blue Jays appeared well-positioned for success in 2023, the unexpected rise of the Orioles and the consistent competitiveness of the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox in the AL East presented formidable challenges. Securing the division in 2024 now seems like a formidable task given the changing dynamics of the division.

Notable Progress Bounce-back performances by Berríos and Kikuchi

Amidst the team’s challenges, the resurgence of pitchers José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi provided a silver lining for the Blue Jays. These two pitchers played pivotal roles in protecting the team’s rotation, mitigating some of the deficiencies in the pitching staff.

In the midst of grappling with various uncertainties, the organization can take solace in the strength of its rotation heading into the 2024 season. Area for Enhancement: Power Hitting

Despite Guerrero’s 26 home runs leading the team and Springer following closely with 21, the Blue Jays ranked 16th in MLB with a total of 188 home runs. Such figures fail to reflect the full potential of the lineup’s capabilities.

The offensive shortcomings, particularly the struggle to deliver with runners in scoring position, were a persistent topic throughout the season. While there was a turnaround in fortune later in the year, an uptick in home runs could effectively mask many of these issues. Thus, a renewed focus on power hitting should be a crucial part of the upcoming offseason strategy.

Emerging Star Ricky T

Top prospect Ricky Tiedemann will undoubtedly be one of the most anticipated stories during the team’s Spring Training next February. Tiedemann’s resurgence in the Arizona Fall League, marked by a 2.77 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 13 innings, is a testament to his resilience after a truncated 2023 season due to injury.

While managing his workload remains a key consideration, the Blue Jays might consider starting Tiedemann in Triple-A in 2024 to ensure his readiness for a significant promotion. Tiedemann’s potential is nothing short of breathtaking when all the elements align, although forecasting the performance and health of a pitching prospect remains an uncertain game in the world of baseball.

Team MVP Bo Bichette

Bo Bichette’s contribution on and off the field has positioned him as the team’s most valuable player and a potential face of the franchise moving forward. Despite contending with late-season injuries, Bichette managed an impressive .306 batting average with 20 home runs over 135 games. His growth as a young leader, influenced by the guidance of Marcus Semien, is evident, and another significant leap in performance is expected from him in the upcoming 2024 season.


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