Despite a massive second-half push, the Toronto Blue Jays saw their 2021 campaign come to an end on Sunday.
The club looked unstoppable at certain points this season, but ultimately, the Jays fell just one game short of forcing a Game 163 in the AL Wild Card race.
Today, we’re going to look at a few players who were vital to the team’s run.
From rising stars to veterans, the team got contributions from a variety of players.
Let’s get started.
3. Robbie Ray
Robbie Ray may very well win the AL Cy Young Award, and it’ll be hard to argue if he does.
No matter what happens, he’ll always be able to say that he won the AL ERA title in 2021, as he posted a league-best 2.84 mark.
He also led the league in innings (193.1), strikeouts (248), ERA+ (154), and WHIP (1.05).
STRIKEOUT KING 👑
Robbie Ray finishes with the most K this season (248). pic.twitter.com/DUAf9eisDg
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 4, 2021
The lefty was simply untouchable for the majority of the season, and it’s a shame we won’t get to watch him in the playoffs.
Ray allowed three runs or fewer in 28 out of his 32 starts this season.
He also accumulated a 6.7 bWAR.
For Toronto, Ray was a godsend this season.
Unfortunately, the 30-year-old is a pending free agent, so there are no guarantees that he’ll be in a Blue Jays uniform next year.
But the organization is surely going to do everything in its power to bring him back.
2. Marcus Semien
When Marcus Semien signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jays prior to the 2021 season, a lot of people didn’t realize the team was getting an MVP-caliber player.
After all, he had a mere .679 OPS in 2020.
Perhaps that made it easy to forget how good he was in 2019, when he posted a WAR of 8.4 and finished third in the MVP race.
In 2021, he made it clear that he’s still that guy.
The 31-year-old had an outstanding year, and he’s likely going to attract some major offers in free agency as a result.
He played in all 162 games this season and led the league in plate appearances.
On top of that, he slashed .265/.334/.548, posted a 133 OPS+, and homered 45 times, doubled 39 times, and tripled twice.
He registered a whopping 7.1 bWAR and earned his first-ever All-Star selection.
Re-signing Semien needs to be a priority for Toronto this offseason.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put the league on notice in 2021.
He showed some promise in 2019 and 2020, but this season, he established himself as one of the best players in baseball.
The youngster finished the year with league-bests in on-base percentage (.401), slugging percentage (.601), OPS (1.002), OPS+ (169), home runs (48), total bases (363), and runs (123).
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
He also batted .311 and drove in 111 runs.
He was a firm candidate for the rarely-attained Triple Crown Award, but he ultimately fell just short.
There’s no telling where the Blue Jays would have been this season without Guerrero and his 6.8 bWAR.
The 22-year-old was one of the biggest reasons the team was in the playoff race.
He’s under club control until 2026, so it goes without saying that Toronto is going to enjoy having him around for a long time.