Third in the division after 40 games. In any other season, the Toronto Blue Jays may be worrying about their playoff hopes based on these standings. This certainly isn’t like any other season for the AL East, though.

With an expanded fixtures setup that sees the Blue Jays compete more beyond the confines of the absurdly competitive division, the Canadian club has been able to rack up more and more wins. 

So, at .600 with odds of +1000 in the best sport betting Canada has to offer, should the Toronto Blue Jays be taken seriously as a World Series contender?

Competing in the Strongest Division in the League

As of the time of writing, not a single other division boasts five teams with winning records. In the AL East, it’s the Boston Red Sox propping up the rest at .537. 

The only other division that comes remotely close is the AL West, with the Seattle Mariners in fourth on .500, leading the Oakland Athletics on their .214 record with a mere nine wins. 

Back in the AL East, even the New York Yankees in fourth are currently in a postseason place with a .548 win percentage. If the pace of the teams holds, it could be the best division the league has ever seen. 

With the playoff format for 2023 seeing three divisional winners and three wild card teams from any division in the league go through, divisional standing doesn’t matter as much as it once did.

This is why the Toronto Blue Jays can be seen as having a very good season so far. With a 24-16 record, the Blue Jays aren’t far off the pace of the division-leading Texas Rangers or Atlanta Braves (.625).

Still, there is room for improvement. May opened by getting swept by the Red Sox in a four-game series, but three-game series sweeps of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Braves to sandwich a two-game loss to the Philadelphia Phillies helped to alleviate the shortcomings.

Having said that, May should be telling of the team’s prospects. Four against the Yankees, three against the Orioles, and four against the imperious Tampa Bay Rays could reshape the AL East.

Good Signs for a Strong Campaign

Atop the standings with a .738 win percentage, the Rays have looked unstoppable at times, but stutters against the Orioles and Yankees have proved that the team can be slowed by top-class clubs. 

As a result, their odds of winning the division have slipped slightly, coming down to -161; the MLB odds favour the Blue Jays as the next-best in the AL East at +300 – well ahead of the +500 Yankees. 

Powering the Blue Jays as the second-favourites for the divisional crown is Bo Bichette and his joint-first 54 on hits, Kevin Gausman sitting fourth overall for strikeouts, and Jordan Romano collecting ten saves to sit tied-third in the stat line. 

Whit Merrifield, Chris Bassitt, and, as you’d assume, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have also been enjoying strong campaigns so far, particularly when it comes to the latter putting up a .315 batting average.

Naturally, injuries will always come into play, as will tough runs of poor form, but the first 40 games of the season have all of the signs that this stacked Blue Jays team can at least make it to the playoffs. 

From there, without a postseason triumph since 2016, it’s tough to say if this Toronto roster is now ready to dig deep and surge to the Fall Classic.

The Toronto Blue Jays should be taken seriously this season. The team’s built well, they’re getting additional help behind the stars, and the club’s holding its own in the toughest division in baseball. 

Playoffs seem inevitable right now, but a hot run of form to end the season would help to get the Blue Jays beyond the first hurdle.

*Credit for all images in this article belongs to AP Photo*

Ben is very much a sports nerd, being obsessed with statistical deep dives and the numbers behind the results and performances.

Top of the agenda are hockey, soccer, and boxing, but there's always time for the NFL, cricket, Formula One, and a bit of mixed martial arts.