Toronto Blue Jays fans have waited 22 years for a chance like this one.
GM Alex Anthopoulos would have stolen Major League Baseball's offseason headlines if not for the wild overhauls taking place in Chicago and San Diego, but the publicity doesn't matter when the product has a chance to be this damn good - so good as to usher in flashbacks to the franchise's last playoff team, the 1993 World Series champions.
Without further ado, here's 3 bold predictions for what should be an excited 2015 season in Toronto.
3. The Jays' middle of the order will have one or two legit MVP candidates
Let's just get this out of the way - the Jays' 3-4-5 combo of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson is borderline illegal and altogether amazing. Projecting 85 home runs out of this trio may even be a bit on the low side, as the protection each guy will provide for each other and the rest of the lineup will take the team's offense to an entirely new stratosphere. One of these guys, if not two or all three, will put up video game #s to such an extent that MVP consideration will be a foregone conclusion.
2. Dalton Pompey will electrify Canada as the Jays' starting center fielder
It's hard to believe that Pompey has a legitimate chance at winning the Blue Jays' starting center field job just a season removed from playing as low as Class-A, but the Mississauga, Ontario native is just that talented. Combining pure, unadulterated speed with an evolving bat and sneaky pop, Pompey will go from minor-league darling to Canadian flag-bearer for the Jays while growing into a true catalyst for the team's mashers and bashers in the middle of the order. He may not be a bona fide superstar right off, but expect him to put some butts in seats at the Rogers Centre based on pure electricity alone.
1. The Blue Jays will make their first ALCS since 1993
Question the starting rotation all you want, but there's definite potential for a breakthrough with Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchinson and enough ammunition for a midseason trade if Toronto comes out of the gates on fire. If the rotation holds true, the offense has a chance to rip the new deal ball era to shreds with the additions of Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, and Michael Saunders to an already potent lineup.
That's not to mention just how big of a boost Martin will provide to the Jays' pitching staff based on pitch framing and veteran leadership alone...
Expect the Blue Jays to lead the AL in runs scored in 2015, the pitching staff to hold its ground in true puncher's fashion, and Toronto to win its first AL East title (and make its first ALCS appearance) since the heyday of grunge music and pogs.
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