The second half of baseball is set to return this Friday, as the Toronto Blue Jays will be taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Jays are currently third in the AL East and tied for second in the AL Wild Card. The Jays have had players in the first half of the season that have had shaky starts.
The Jays first half of the season has been bittersweet. Yes, they are above .500, but with the pool of talent that this team has, I don’t think we’ve seen this team play their best baseball. At the end of the day, the team has underperformed. So, if there were any other time to shine and showcase their success it would be now. Let’s take a look at four players on the Jays that we believe will shape this team’s success in the second half.
Breakout Second Half is Awaiting: 4 Jays Players Who Need to Step Up
At the end of the day, the Jays need more reliability and consistency from Matt Chapman. In April, Matt Chapman was on fire. He received the American League (AL) Player of the Month, AL Player of the Week, and was ranked high in several hitting categories. But when May arrived Matt Chapman’s fame went down the drain.
His slugging percentage on April 30th was .687. Practically every game after that it just continued to drop. By the end of May, it was at .490. The month of May was just not in favour of the Jays. The Jays had a lot of struggles with scoring runs with runners in scoring position (RISP) in May. They also had a disappointing .187 average with RISP. But the Jays can make a comeback if Chapman can perform like he did in April.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
If anyone is going to help the Jays with a better second half it’s got to be Vladdy. The Jays need a big second half from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as his first half was underperformed. Vladdy didn’t hit his first home run at the Rogers Centre until June 23rd and he had some dry spells where he wasn’t hitting any home runs.
Vladdy started to pick up his power and hitting before the All-Star break and he did win the Home Run Derby. So, we’re all hoping that Vladdy can really step it up at the plate and help the Jays get to the postseason. This is a team that is capable of playing deep into October. Let’s not forget the Jays are only seven games behind Tampa Bay in the standings.
Pitching is going to be very important for the Jays in the second half. The Jays have a strong starting rotation and a good closer but then there’s Alek Manoah. No one expected Manoah to get into the slump he did. If Manoah can continue to pitch as he did in the Detriot game then the Jays will have a strong second half.
He definitely surprised a lot of people as many fans thought that he wasn’t ready to return to the majors. He put out a good quality start but does he have everyone convinced that he’s back to his old self? We need to see him dominate a strong team. Then we can get a better idea of where he is at. Manoah is a young talented pitcher who had a great season last year. He can without a doubt bounce back from adversity. Let’s see if he can continue to impress us.
If anyone has been hitting good before the All-Star break it was without doubt George Springer. In his last seven games, he has nine hits, two home runs, and five RBIs. George has definitely been playing with a lot of passion and when he gets on base it gets him, the crowd, and his team fired up. And we know the spectacular diving catches he’s done out in the outfield. It’s without question he’s a stellar defensive athlete. His offense on the field really makes a difference.
In April he only hit one double versus six that he hit in June. If George can continue to spark up the field with both offense and defense all will be heavenly. George had a slow start to his season but he has without question been putting on an all-star athlete performance as of recently.
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