The Toronto Blue Jays had a lot of helium heading into 2022, coming off a 2021 season in which they went 91-71 and missed the wild card by one game. They fell short of the Red Sox and Yankees, who both finished 92-70, but buried in that heartbreak was the fact that the Blue Jays had outscored their opponents by 183 runs -- more than the Red Sox (80) and Yankees (42) combined.
Yes, Toronto lost Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and second baseman Marcus Semien, who finished third in the MVP voting after cranking 45 home runs. But the Blue Jays signed Kevin Gausman and traded for Matt Chapman this offseason. They were also looking ahead to full seasons from sophomore ace Alek Manoah and 2021 deadline acquisition Jose Berrios, and had two young stars to build a lineup around in MVP runner-up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette.
My college Bradford Doolittle's projection system pegged the Jays to go 93-69, the second-best record in the American League, behind the Astros. FanGraphs projections predicted 92-70, the best record in the AL.
The Blue Jays haven't played at that level though, sitting at 46-42, but if the season had ended after Tuesday they would have made the playoffs as the third wild card, a half-game ahead of the fast-charging Mariners and 1.5 games ahead of the suddenly streaking Orioles.