Throughout most of the 2010s, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees ran the American League East. Boston won the division four times, while the Yankees took home the title three times. In fact, they were the only teams in the AL East that won the division more than once over the last 10 seasons. The Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays all captured one division title. However, the Toronto Blue Jays have built a young core with uber-talented players who have just finished their first season together. Both Toronto and New York could be running the AL East in the 2020s.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio are seemingly who the Jays have built their future around. Guerrero and Bichette are 20 and 21 years old, respectively, and both received some Rookie of the Year votes. Biggio is slightly older at 24 years old, but was also a rookie in 2019. With the potential and talent that they all displayed in the first season, they will be a scary core for years to come.
Guerrero Jr., son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerreo, had a decent first year in the big leagues. He slashed .272/.339/.433 with a 105 wRC+ in 123 games. He showed off (to a degree) what he will soon be most known for: his power. He smashed 15 bombs throughout the season, but did put on one of the most entertaining Home Run Derby performances in recent memory. With his talent at such a young age, we have yet to see what’s to come.
Guerrero Jr. isn’t the only Blue Jay with his dad as a former player. Bichette, whose father is Dante Bichette, may be the best player out of all of Toronto’s young players. In his rookie campaign, he hit for a .384 wOBA, .930 OPS, and 142 wRC+. Although it was in a mere 46 games, he showed how dangerous of a player he can be. He recorded a hit in his first 12 games, including 10 extra-base hits in his first nine games, becoming the first player in MLB history to do so. Speaking of records, Bichette had 39 hits in the month of August, which was the most by a Blue Jays rookie ever. Guerrero Jr. may have a lot of the public hype, but don’t forget about Bichette.
Oh, how about another son of a former player? This time it’s Craig Biggio’s son, Cavan. Playing 100 games in his rookie season, Biggio recorded an impressive 114 wRC+ and a 2.4 fWAR. He has shown his versatility in the field by getting some time at first base, second base, left field and right field. The one thing that stood out that the 24-year-old needs to improve on is his tendency to strikeout often. His strikeout percentage was 28.6%, or 123 in 354 at-bats. But being so young, he has time to adjust.
It’s a good time to be a Blue Jays fan. Along with Gurrero Jr., Bichette and Biggio, the Blue Jays have Lourdes Gurriel Jr and their top prospect Nate Pearson is set to make his major league debut in 2020. Between Toronto’s and New York’s young core’s, they are set up to battle for the division title for at least the next ten years.