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Mitchell’s predictions for the Blue Jays and 2024 MLB season


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s that time of year.

The time where I write about what I expect to see over the next six months, ruffle some feathers, and then usually look mighty wrong when October arrives.

It’s almost as if baseball is unpredictable.

It’s not just a me problem, I swear.

But before we get to the awards picks and predictions, let’s tackle six Blue Jays and betting-related questions surrounding the 2024 MLB season:


1. After falling from two consecutive 90-plus win campaigns in 2021 and 2022, the Jays regressed to 89 wins last season. Can they get over the wild-card hump and make a postseason run this year?

That feather ruffling I mentioned previously? These are the type of questions that can do that from time to time.

Can they? Sure.

Will they? That’s another question altogether and one that will be answered by the grind of 162.

On paper, this is a playoff team, backed by a strong top-to-bottom pitching staff and some bats that have much more in them than they showed in 2023.

Here’s the deal, however. Last year, it was the rotation leading the way and staying amazingly healthy.

That usually doesn’t happen in the fashion it did for the Jays last year, and they’re already dealing with a less than 100 per cent Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah is expected to need an IL stint.

I have a feeling injuries are going to play a large role in the overall outcome of 2024, and it may leave the Jays a couple games short of that 89-win mark, which would put them in a very precarious position on the final weekend of the season.

The answer to the question for me is a no.


2. What will the Jays’ record be — the over/under is currently set at 86.5 wins heading into the season — and will it be enough to once again make the expanded postseason?

Good line. Really good line, actually.

I just wrote that I think they’ll finish a couple games worse than last year, which doesn’t mean they’re not a playoff team, but it would be tight if that comes to fruition.

I don’t see this team cratering and finishing close to .500, so I’ll say they eek out the over and finish 87-75.


3. Who is one Jays player you expect to exceed expectations this year and one you expect to disappoint?

I don’t really know what the expectations are for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. these days and it probably depends on who you’re talking to.

But either way, I’m comfortable predicting a monster season for a motivated Vladdy.

It may not reach 2021 MVP conversation levels, but I expect him to threaten the 40-homer mark and a .300 average this season.

What’s changed? Pretty simple. I think he was hurt in 2023.

On the flip side, despite a good spring and a healthy 2023, there are some warning signs that Father Time could be catching up to George Springer as he approaches the age of 35.

Even though he went 20/20 last year, I still can’t stop thinking about that career-worst 104 wRC+, which made him essentially a league average hitter.


4. What are your three favourite league-wide player prop bets?

Let’s keep this simple. I’ll give you three 30-plus homer props that I really like.

The first is Bobby Witt Jr., who hit 30 on the nose last year and sits at -114 to do it again. I’d look at 40-plus, too.

Same with Royce Lewis, who will be very familiar to Jays fans after last October.

Somehow, some way, Lewis is +230 to hit 30-plus, and that’s after bashing 15 in just 58 games last year.

Finally, give me some shares of the freak, O’Neil Cruz, to hit 30-plus bombs at +196 in Pittsburgh.

As a bonus bet, how about Shohei Ohtani to lead MLB in homers? At +1100, that’s a nice sprinkle.


5. How about your three favourite Jays-related player props?

We’ll start with the opening day arm, Jose Berrios, whose season strikeout line sits at 169.5 (-113) heading into the season.

After punching out 184 across 189.2 frames last season, health would be the only thing standing in the way of an over here.

I think Berrios is good for 180-200 frames each and every year and that track record of reliability is the allure.

Since I mentioned Vladdy pushing the 40-homer mark it would probably be smart to look at over 33.5 homers at -113, as well. You could also sprinkle 40-plus at +230.

Finally, I think Bo Bichette crosses the 25-homer mark this year and shows off some more power, making his 22.5 line at -106 pretty juicy. He hit 20 in just 135 games last year.


6. Let’s take a look at some league-wide team futures bets. Any value bets stick out?

One of my favourite futures is Gunnar Henderson to win AL MVP at +1800. The Orioles might be a wagon, so I’ll happily take their most impactful hitter at those odds.

My awards predictions have been all over the map the last few years, but since I’ve correctly predicted the AL rookie of the year two years in a row, I’ll take that hot streak and ride with Boston’s Ceddanne Rafaela, who might go 20/30 with some luck. He’s really good.

Let’s take a stab at the National League, as well, and while I think Yoshinobu Yamamoto is an easy favourite and he’ll put his early-career MLB adjustments behind him pretty quickly, I want to go longshot here.

I like Milwaukee Brewers lefty DL Hall at +3000, but the guy I’ll roll with is Michael Busch, who has a whole lot of power in his left-handed bat, a first base/DH job locked down in Chicago, and Wrigley Field wind helping him.

He might hit a sneaky 25 homers and beat out the favourites.



AL East: Baltimore Orioles

AL Central: Minnesota Twins

AL West: Texas Rangers

Wild-Cards: Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners


NL East: Atlanta Braves

NL Central: Cincinnati Reds

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers

Wild-Cards: Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks


World Series pick

Atlanta Braves over Baltimore Orioles in six games.

The chalkiest prediction, but at least it didn’t include the Los Angeles Dodgers, the obvious favourite this year.

Love the lineups, it’s impossible not to, but adding Corbin Burnes and Chris Sale has turned both rotations into sneaky good top-tier groups.

With Baltimore, I’m also expecting an all-in trade deadline, as well.

Award predictions

AL MVP: Gunnar Henderson (+1800)

NL MVP: Shohei Ohtani (+950)

AL Cy Young: Corbin Burnes (+800)

NL Cy Young: Bobby Miller (+3000)

AL Rookie of the Year: Ceddanne Rafaela (+2500)

NL Rookie of the Year: Yoshinobu Yamamoto (+250)

AL Manager of the Year: Rocco Baldelli, Twins

NL Manager of the Year: David Bell, Reds