Opinion: George Springer Is Starting To Turn Things Around for the Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are navigating through a challenging season, currently residing at the bottom of the AL East with one of the league’s least effective bullpens, compounded by inconsistent performances from their hitters. These struggles are testing the patience of even the most devoted Blue Jays supporters.

Among the primary contributors to Toronto’s disappointing season is George Springer, the team’s highest-paid player. From the outset, Springer faced a rough start and continued to underperform well into mid-June, establishing himself as one of the weakest regular hitters across Major League Baseball. As of June 16, his .579 OPS ranked among the league’s lowest, with a .196/.290/.289 slash line, five home runs, 31 RBIs, and a 71 wRC+ in 64 games played.

During this period, Springer struggled with a .218 BABIP and showed visible frustration at the plate, reflected in negative batting run value and below-average exit velocity (per Baseball Savant). Despite maintaining strong defensive performances in right field, his offensive struggles prompted manager John Schneider to move him out of his customary leadoff spot in an attempt to spark offensive production.

As discussions about the possibility of shedding Springer’s contract amid the team’s struggles gained traction, a pivotal game on June 25 in Boston marked a turning point. Springer seemingly reached his breaking point and began to exhibit the hitting prowess fans had eagerly anticipated throughout the season.

Since that game-changing evening, Springer has undergone a transformation at the plate, batting .452 with two doubles and four home runs. He has contributed significantly to the team’s offense, scoring seven runs and driving in 13 RBIs, nearly doubling his season total. Over the span of 10 games, Springer has increased his batting average by 28 points (from .188 to .216) and boosted his OPS by 93 points, now standing at .652 compared to .559 on June 24.

Since his breakout game in Boston, George Springer has surged in offensive production, ranking prominently in key statistical categories. He now boasts a wRC+ of 296, second-best in the league, and holds the second-highest OBP (.528) along with ranking third in slugging percentage (.903) and OPS (1.431). His resurgence has been remarkable, contributing 1.0 fWAR and reversing his earlier struggles.

Springer’s consistency has been evident with an ongoing eight-game on-base streak, punctuated by hits in seven of those games; he managed two walks in a recent outing where he went 0-for-2. He has delivered four multi-hit performances since June 25, including two three-hit games, showcasing his pivotal role in the Blue Jays lineup despite the team’s broader challenges, particularly with their pitching staff’s recent struggles.

Springer’s return to the leadoff spot is a strategic move aimed at boosting the team’s offensive capabilities, especially with hitters like Spencer Horwitz and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. performing well alongside him. While it’s acknowledged that Springer’s recent surge may not be sustainable over the entire season due to the small sample size, it represents a positive step forward for a struggling Blue Jays roster.

As the team approaches a pivotal juncture, decisions loom regarding their stance as buyers or sellers at the upcoming trade deadline. With each loss, the likelihood of trades to reconfigure the roster increases.

While Springer’s impressive recent form may not alter the team’s trajectory significantly by the deadline, it serves as an encouraging development for a player who has faced challenges meeting expectations throughout the season. The hope remains that Springer continues his upward trend for the remainder of the campaign.

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