Toronto Blue Jays: Fifth place in AL East, 28-29
Everyone deals with injuries, but the Jays are probably thrilled to only be five and a half games out at this point. The Jays are a team that has missed Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Russell Martin for periods of time. Justin Smoak has been fantastic, leading in average, home runs and RBIs in what is looking like a career year. Devon Travis has emerged from a slow start as a doubles machine.
Causes for concern: Can Smoak keep it going? Will several Jays’ hitters get it going, such as Jose Bautista, who has struggled off and on all year? The setup guys in Jason Grilli and J.P. Howell have been atrocious, leaving the bullpen a bit up in the air.
Joe Smith has been good, and they can shuffle things around, but this bullpen always has some issues. The rotation has been a game of musical chairs, as Happ was injured, Sanchez has finger issues, etc. Last year’s Rule 5 revelation Joe Biagini was thrust into a starter’s role and has performed well.
Overall, the AL East is up to its usual tricks. Competitive, intense and not for the faint of heart. While each team likely sees reasons as to why they should win the division, there is also ample evidence as to why each team could be set to struggle.
It will be fascinating to continue to watch the division and see how it plays out.