The Toronto Blue Jays were one of the most impressive teams in the 2021 MLB season.
After losing two out of three games with the New York Yankees early last week, they needed a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles to increase their chances of making the playoffs.
They achieved just that: they won the three games against the O’s, often by a wide margin, but it was all futile because the Boston Red Sox also swept and the Yankees won one game to break a potential tie.
In the end, Boston and New York made the Wild Card game with a 92-70 record, and Toronto was eliminated with a 91-71 mark.
It has to be painful for Toronto to go home while the Yankees and Red Sox advance with a worse run differential.
An Extraordinary Run Differential
Toronto’s +183 was the third-best mark in the American League, better than the AL Central champion Chicago White Sox.
That +183 was almost as good as the Tampa Bay Rays (+206) and significantly better than both the Yankees (+42) and the Red Sox (+80).
Even the Seattle Mariners finished only one game behind the Blue Jays with a -51 differential.
This goes to say that Toronto underachieved in 2021: according to that crucial number, they should have been better.
Their bullpen was in the middle of the pack with a 4.08 ERA, and several things went wrong in the relief corps: most notably Julian Merryweather missing most of the season and trade acquisition Brad Hand flopping big-time.
But make no mistake: Toronto will be back, and next year, they are looking like a legitimate playoff team with their current foundation.
Most of their existing stalwarts and contributors will be back next year.
The Core Will Be Back
They will all be back.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., a legitimate MVP candidate with his .311/.401/.601 slash line and 48 home runs, came close to achieving the hitting Triple Crown and will be a cornerstone for years.
Most home runs in a season by a player age 22 or younger:
1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 48 (2021)
2) Eddie Mathews – 47 (1953) pic.twitter.com/9aSgGa3VxE
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 3, 2021
George Springer’s first season was full of injuries, but he was productive when on the field: .264/.352/.555 with 22 homers in 76 games.
Semien was the second-best hitter behind Guerrero, but he is free to sign with any team.
On the pitching side of things, Toronto was surprisingly decent.
They had the 10th-best ERA in MLB with 3.91, and allowed the sixth-fewest runs per game with 4.1.
The 2022 Toronto Blue Jays are going to destroy the league next season.
— Garrett Swan (@garrettmartin90) October 3, 2021
If the Jays manage to add another top pitcher and put together a better bullpen, they may even challenge for the AL East division.
They had a fantastic season in 2021 even if they don’t have anything to show for it, and they will be even better in 2022.NEXT: 3 Top Players On The 2021 Blue Jays