How Good Were Vlad & Marcus & Bo in 2021?

Monday, December 06 2021 @ 05:14 PM EST

Contributed by: John Northey

When I was younger I used to make 'best ever seasons' for the Jays by position (a lot easier in the 80's as there weren't many years to cover).  So what about this year?

I'll start off using WAR and the like, but just as a starting point. * indicates led league.  I see these as contenders for best seasons ever at 1B/2B/SS.  The positions the Jays had guys with strong cases to be the best season ever at each.

First Base All Time..
Second Base All Time...
Shortstop All Time...
Other positions have their arguments too but most are cut and dried in my opinion.  But I'm sure others can come up with good arguments.
Catcher is by far the weakest position in Jays history - hard to believe we've never seen anyone reach 4 WAR there while every other position has multiple guys at 5+.  1B/CF/RF are amazing for having multiple 'wow' seasons by multiple players with 1B easily the deepest in Jays history.

By era...
Pitchers are a whole other category, but my quick take on a rotation that would be impossible to beat: Roger Clemens 1997 (pitchers triple crown, Cy, 11.9 bWAR), Roy Halladay 2003 (8.1 WAR, 22 W, 32-204 BB-SO, just a great year in a great career), Dave Stieb 1984 (146 ERA+ to lead, 7.9 WAR, but 7th in Cy voting no one else who got votes had more than 5.2 WAR), Pat Hentgen 1996 (Cy, led in IP, CG 8.6 WAR), Juan Guzman 1996 (6.7 WAR, ERA title with a 171 ERA+ but 0 Cy votes), Jimmy Key 1987 (7.4 WAR, led with 164 ERA+ but 2nd in Cy voting), Robbie Ray 2021 was 6.7 WAR Cy award.  OK, that was 7 guys, but who do you bench from that group?  PS: Clemens was supposed to have started PEDs in '98 when he won his 2nd Cy as a Jay.

Relievers more of a crapshoot: Mark Eichhorn 1986 (7.3 WAR, 157 IP with a 246 ERA+) clearly had the best year imo, B.J. Ryan 2006 (3.6 WAR, 38-4 Sv-Bl, 335 ERA+ over 72 1/3 IP), Duane Ward 1993 (3.0 WAR, 45-6 Sv-Bl over 71 2/3 IP plus great in playoffs/WS), Tom Henke 1987 (0-6 but led in saves with 34-8 Sv-Bl, 182 ERA+ over 94 IP, plus 3 IP in All-Star Game, 2.4 BB/9 vs 12.3 K/9 - an unheard of thing at that time), , Jordan Romano 2021 (2.3 WAR, 23-1 Sv-Bl hard to complain about that ratio, his blown was his first save opportunity of the year).  Very hard to pick as ERA is so insanely variable for relievers thus making WAR very hard to use.  Saves are an opportunity thing more than a skill imo.  Put whoever you cut from that killer rotation to the pen to make it impossible good.

So opinions?  Feelings? Did I miss someone?  Let's get some good debates going.  Mix in stuff like 'leadership', 'fan favorite', etc. if you want.  Old stories of favorite players would be good in this thread.  Just going through some of these names brought back good memories (like Gruber's fog home run and his cycle where he turned a double into a single).