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While we await news on the upcoming MLB season, we're sifting through the best player props by team to find preseason value on some of baseball's biggest names. Today, we break down the Toronto Blue Jays. After their lineup had the worst combined average in the league last season, the Blue Jays are looking to take a major step forward in 2020.
|Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||.270||-120||-110|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||.290||-105||-125|
Bichette led all Blue Jays hitters with a .311 average (minimum of five at-bats) in his breakout 2019 campaign, and there's no reason to doubt his ascension to stardom. But that might not mean a similar performance right away. An unusually high average on balls in play (.368) buoyed his line last year, and he needs to develop more patience at the plate before projecting for another offensive explosion.
Biggio showed promise in his rookie season, but the league's sixth-highest launch angle (20.1 degrees) indicates some difficulties keeping balls in play. That bodes ill for his average, which was just .234 a year ago. Expect another low mark until he straightens out his approach.
There's plenty of optimism to glean from Gurriel's two shortened seasons with the Blue Jays; he hit .281 in 2018 and .277 in 2019 over 563 combined at-bats. He demonstrated encouraging power rates in both seasons and hit .357 over 28 at-bats in spring training this year, so we'll take the over on a modest number here.
Are things really as bad for Shaw as they looked in 2019, when he registered a paltry .157 average in 86 games with the Brewers? It was the first time in his career he hit below .240, thanks in part to a career-worst strikeout rate (33%) and an unsustainably high fly-ball rate (50%). Shaw is a career .264 hitter at the Rogers Centre and should regress to the mean in his new home.
Guerrero gets plenty of attention for his home-run upside, but it was his contact swing that helped him hit .272 as a rookie, including .293 over the second half of 2019. Those numbers came despite a soft-hit rate of 20.8%, an unusually high mark for a player with Guerrero's power potential; if he can normalize his contact rate, this should be an easy bar to clear.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.