George Springer must be great for Jays to reach potential

George Springer has struggled in 2023 but Toronto's leadoff hitter will remain at the top of the lineup and his success at the plate will determine how far the Blue Jays can go this season.

Video Transcript

- By just about any measure you can imagine, George Springer is having the worst year of his career. It's not disastrous. He hasn't been unplayable, but he hasn't been George Springer, one of the best hitters in baseball. Now manager, John Schneider, of the Blue Jays said that George is what makes the Blue Jays offense go, and that's accurate. But not only is this guy a leadoff man, he's hitting in front of Bo Bichette, who's having the best year of his career. And right there is Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who was maybe not quite at 2021 levels, but pretty darn close.

And so when you're giving a player the most at-bats on your team and he's hitting in front of the best players on your team, it's unsurprising that he's going to be essential to your team's success. What's interesting about Springer is he's not like a lot of the other players on the Blue Jays. He's hard to move around. This is a guy who takes the vast majority of his at-bats atop the lineup for his entire career. He's an established veteran. He has that nine-figure contract. This is what they told him that they're bringing him in to do. So sliding him down the lineup is a little bit harder to have that conversation than it is with other players.

And he's also pursuing the leadoff home run record. Right now, Alfonso Soriano has that with 81 home runs, but if Springer is able to stay in the leadoff spot for the next few years for the Blue Jays, he has a chance to challenge that, which is something that means something to him. There's been recent signs of hope for Springer, who to be fair, his expected numbers have been better than his real production for most of the year. So he's been unlucky, and recently, he's been better.

But for the Blue Jays offense to meet expectations for 2023, he needs to be better than good. He needs to be great. He needs to be George Springer, and if he is, the ceiling for this group is very high.