The Toronto Blue Jays began their franchise in 1977. They didn’t have to wait very long to see some success. After just six losing seasons, they finished above .500 in 1983 and made their first postseason in 1985 while winning a franchise-record 99 games. From 1983-1993, the Blue Jays did not have a losing record and won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993. They hit a 20-year stretch of not seeing the postseason from 1995-2014 but have made the playoffs in three of the last seven and just missed the postseason last year.
Toronto is an up-and-coming team with a young core of players. That analysis is for closer to the beginning of the season (hopefully there is one). For now, let’s take a look back on the relatively short history of the Blue Jays and who makes their all-time roster.
Make sure to check out all of our other All-Time Rosters.
Ernie Whitt, C
Whitt was selected by the Blue Jays from the Boston Red Sox in the 1976 expansion draft. He played for Toronto for 12 years starting in 1977. The Michigan native has the most games caught in franchise history with 1,160. He had a solid peak from 1983-1989. In that time, the left-handed hitter had a .341 wOBA and 109 wRC+ while blasting 113 home runs. He also walked nearly as much as he struck out in that time (332-343).
Carlos Delgado, 1B
Delgado was an absolute terror in his prime. He holds many offensive franchise records including HRs (336), RBIs (1,058), and OPS (.949). From 1997-2004, the slugger had an impressive .408 wOBA and 145 wRC+ while averaging 37 HRs, 100 runs, and 116 RBIs. He finished fourth in MVP voting in 2000 and was runner-up in 2003. Delgado led the league in RBIs with 145 and OPS with a 1.019 in 2003. He was a two-time All-Star with the Blue Jays and was as durable as they come averaging 150 games played in that eight-year stretch.
Roberto Alomar, 2B
Alomar spent just five seasons with the Blue Jays, but they were in his prime. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner each year in Toronto. He slashed .307/.382/.451 and stole 206 bases from 1991-1995. The switch-hitter also performed on the big stage, slashing .373/.435/.492 in the playoffs while taking home the 1992 ALCS MVP and a couple of World Series titles. Robbie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Tony Fernandez, SS
While youngster Bo Bichette may eventually take this spot, Fernandez owns it for at least another few years. The Dominican shortstop played parts of 12 seasons with the Blue Jays over four different stints. In his prime from 1985-1990, Fernandez put up a solid .331 wOBA and 103 wRC+. He was a defensive wizard during that time as well winning four Gold Gloves and accumulating a whopping 101.6 dWAR. He also performed when it counted the most. In his Toronto playoff career, the switch-hitter slashed .333/.389/.402 in 24 games while getting on base in all but three of them.
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Although three and a half years isn’t very long, Donaldson put up some massive numbers in that time with the Blue Jays. From 2015-2017 he hit 111 homers, drove in 300, and had an impressive .399 wOBA and 154 wRC+. He took home the MVP award in 2015 and finished fourth the following year.
George Bell, LF
Bell was a fixture in left field for the Blue Jays from 1984-1990. In those seven seasons, the right-handed slugger played in over 150 games each year but one (142 in 1990). Not only did he play a ton, but he was productive. He belted 195 home runs and drove in 711 runs. Career highs came in 1987 with 47 bombs and a league-leading 134 RBIs with Bell taking home the MVP.
Lloyd Moseby, CF
This was a tough decision with Vernon Wells and Devon White also in the running. Moseby was a very good all-around player. In his five-year peak from 1983-1987, he averaged 20 HRs and 35 SBs with a .357 wOBA and 118 wRC+. Moseby also had a solid 20.5 dWAR during that time. He may not have had the gaudy power numbers Wells accumulated or the defensive prowess of White, but Moseby was a player that did everything above average
Jose Bautista, RF
In his first 575 games in the majors, Bautista had 59 HRs, a .322 wOBA, and 91 wRC+. Something flipped for Joey Bats as over the next 575 games he smashed 165 HRs with a .409 wOBA and 159 wRC+. From 2010-2015, Bautista was an all-star each year and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting four times. The former 20th-round pick is the Blue Jays all-time leader in position player rWAR. Of course, no one can forget the bat flip heard ’round the world.
Encarnacion came to the Blue Jays at the trade deadline in 2009. He played for Toronto through the 2016 season. In that time, he paired with Bautista to make a scary one-two punch in the middle of the lineup. At his peak from 2012-2016, Encarnacion averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs while slashing .272/.367/.544. In 2016, he led the league with 127 RBIs and was an All-Star three times. The Puerto Rican slugger is tied with Joey Bats for fourth in franchise history in OPS at .878.
Roy Halladay, RHP
Not much needs to be said about Doc. After some struggles at the beginning of his career, the 6-foot-6 right-hander found his groove. From 2002-2009, he averaged 214 IP, 16 wins, and had a 3.13 ERA while maintaining a sparkling four-to-one K/BB rate. In those eight years, Halladay finished in the top five in CYA voting five times and won the award in 2003. He is one of only three players to have their numbers retired by the Blue Jays (Alomar, Jackie Robinson). Doc was inducted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2019.
Dave Stieb, RHP
The 1978 fifth-round pick out of Southern Illinois made his debut a year later for Toronto and quickly became the team’s ace. From 1980-1990, Stieb made 30+ starts each year except the strike year of 1981 when he toed the rubber 25 times. He led the league in innings pitched twice (1982 and 1984). The right-hander also led the league in ERA in 1985 with a 2.48 mark. Toronto’s workhorse was an All-Star seven times and finished in the top seven in CYA voting four times. Stieb holds most of the franchise’s records for pitchers and leads the club all-time in rWAR at 56.8.
Jimmy Key, LHP
Key became a full-time starter in 1985 and established himself at the top of the rotation with Stieb. The lefty led the league with a 2.76 ERA in 1987 and finished second in CYA voting. The Clemson University southpaw had impeccable control. From 1985-1991, Key walked just under two batters per nine innings. He also stepped up in the playoffs, going 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five series including giving up just one earned run in 12 innings helping the Blue Jays to their first World Series title in 1992.
Pat Hentgen, RHP
Hentgen joined the rotation full-time in 1993. From that year until 1999, he was a staple in the Jays rotation winning 100 games and averaging 214 innings per year. He won the franchise’s first Cy Young Award in 1996 with 20 wins and a 3.22 ERA while leading the league with 265.2 innings pitched. Hentgen was a three-time All-Star and ranks in the top 5 in most categories for the franchise.
Roger Clemens, RHP
Even though The Rocket only pitched two seasons in Toronto, they were exceptional. He won the pitching triple crown both seasons for the Blue Jays along with taking home the Cy Young Award twice. He won 41 games, had a 2.33 ERA, and struck out 563 batters. For all of the great seasons Clemens had in his career, 1996 ranks as one of his best. He won 21 games and set a career-high with 292 strikeouts while pitching to a 2.05 ERA.
Tom Henke, RHP
Henke was Toronto’s closer for eight years from 1985-1992. He holds the franchise record for saves with 217. Aside from that, he pitched to an impeccable 2.48 ERA and struck out over 10 batters per nine innings. He was an All-Star in 1987, leading the league with 34 saves while striking out 128 to just 25 walks. He was not just the Blue Jays best reliever but was one of the most dominant in baseball at the time.
Duane Ward, RHP
The big right-hander from New Mexico paired with Henke to give the Blue Jays quite a one-two punch at the end of games. If it seemed like he pitched every other day from 1988-1993, it was because he nearly did. Ward averaged 72 appearances and 106 innings a year in that span. He saved 121 games in that time as well including leading the league with 45 in 1993 after taking over the role from Henke.
Paul Quantrill, RHP
After having a rough beginning to his Toronto career in 1996, Quantrill became a full-time reliever the following year. It paid off as he made 77 appearances in 1997 and had a 1.94 ERA. Over the next four seasons, the Canadian would be a regular out of the pen for the Blue Jays, appearing in 80+ games twice including leading the league in 2001 with 80. That year he made his only All-Star Game and finished his Toronto career winning 11 games.
Roberto Osuna, RHP
While Osuna may be better known for his time in Houston, both good and bad, he started his career dominating out of the Blue Jays bullpen. In his three and a half years with Toronto, Osuna pitched to a 2.87 ERA and saved 104 games. In that time, he had an excellent 6.33-to-1 K/BB rate with a 0.919 WHIP.
Casey Janssen, RHP
Janssen pitched for eight of his nine big league seasons in Toronto. He also had a nice three-year stretch from 2011-2013, pitching to an 11-2 record with a 2.46 ERA while saving 58 games and striking out nearly a batter per inning. He also knew how to keep the ball in the park, allowing just 12 homers in 172 innings during that span.
David Wells, LHP
We need a lefty out of the bullpen. So, while Wells doesn’t quite make the cut for the rotation, he can be the long man or spot starter for us. As a matter of fact, he started his career out of the bullpen and even pitched to a 2.40 ERA in 1989 while making 54 relief appearances for the Blue Jays. After making stops in Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and New York, Wells returned to the Blue Jays for a couple of seasons in 1999 and 2000. He was a starter then and finished third in CYA voting in 2000, leading the league with 20 wins and 1.2 walks per nine innings.
Jesse Barfield, OF
The outfield was tough to pick for this team as they’ve had quite a few good ones. Barfield had a cannon in right field and won two Gold Gloves for his defensive work. He led the league in home runs in 1986 with 40 and knocked in a career-high 108 runs while finishing fifth in MVP voting. He is second in defensive WAR to Fernandez and is fourth in overall WAR for position players in franchise history.
John Olerud, 1B
The Blue Jays captured their second consecutive World Series in 1993. It was also a special year for Olerud. Many remember his chase for .400 as he was batting exactly that as of August 2 that season. Even though he fell into a slump over the final two months of the year, Olerud still set Toronto’s single-season record for batting average at .363. At the time he became the first player in franchise history to have an OPS of above 1.000.
Vernon Wells, OF
Although he had kind of an up-and-down career in Toronto, Wells ranks in the top five in franchise history in many categories including runs, home runs, and RBIs. He made three All-Star appearances and won three Gold Gloves. His best season came in 2003 when he slashed .317/.359/.550 while leading the AL with 49 doubles and 215 hits. He also set a career-high in homers that season with 33.
Devon White, CF
Traded by the California Angels in December 1990, White began his five-year stint with the Blue Jays in 1991. He won five straight Gold Gloves and helped Toronto take home their only two World Series titles. Like Fernandez, White also stepped up his game in the playoffs slashing .336/.400/.500 in 29 games for Toronto.
Joe Carter, OF
Obviously, Carter is well known for the historic blast off of Mitch Williams which ended the 1993 World Series. The former first-round pick was quite productive in his seven years with the Blue Jays. He hit 25+ HRs six times and drove in over 100 runs six times as well. Carter was a five-time All-Star and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting three times.
Bo Bichette, SS
There are a few other players who could fill this final roster spot including Vlad Guerrero Jr. and the one-year Blue Jay Marcus Semien. However, we need to fill a need up the middle on the dirt. Bichette is the complete package, not only leading the AL in hits this season with 191, but the shortstop also had 29 HRs and 25 SBs while playing excellent defense. He has all the ability to move into the starting nine in the next few years.
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