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Better Know Your Blue Jays 40-Man: Daulton Varsho

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Daulton Varsho is a 26-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder/catcher. The Jays picked him up in a trade with the Diamondbacks for Lourdes Gurriel and Gabriel Moreno.

It was a high price to pay. Moreno was one of the top couple of catching prospects in baseball, and Gurriel is a good left fielder with a 117 OPS+ in his five seasons as a Blue Jay.

But Varsho is an excellent defensive outfielder and can catch as well. His bat is a work in progress, but last year he hit .235/.302/.443 with 27 home runs, 16 steals. Combined with his glove, that got him a 4.9 bWAR.

Last year, playing right field, center and some left, he had a 23.2 UZR/150 in 920 innings. For an unfair comparison, Gurriel had a -9.2 UZR/150.

Varsho is a big-time pull hitter, pulling the ball 54.5% of the time, putting him at the top of the MLB. Maybe he’ll be among the top of the players helped out by the end of over-shifting. He’s also in the top third of the league in hard contact.

On the downside, he was also near the league's top (bottom?) in strikeout rate, at 24.5%. And he could walk more (7.8% last year).

But, unlike many of our hitters, he is a great baserunner (3.4 runs above league average as a baserunner). I’m ok with John Schneider asking him to more aggressive on the basepaths. And he is great at the bunt single. He tried for a bunt single ten times and was successful nine. I’m not a huge fan of the play, but if you reach base 90% of the time, I’m ok with it. Here is a video, stolen from Fangraphs, of him bunting for a base hit:

Daulton had a huge platoon shift. He hit .240/.317/.484 against RHP and .221/.250/.303 against lefties. But, with his defense, I doubt he’ll be platooned too much.

We have a few years of control left with Varsho. He won’t be a free agent until 2027. And he is coming into his prime. I’m hoping we have picked up a star in the making. The 4.9 bWAR in 2022 was a big jump from his 1.7 in 2021. It wouldn’t take much to get into the 5-6 WAR area.

Steamer thinks he will have much the same season as last year. It has him hitting .235/.304/.446 with 26 home runs and 15 steals. I want to think that the changed ballpark dimensions will help his home run numbers, and maybe the change in the shifting rules might help his average.


If the over/under on Varsho’s home runs is 26 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    (814 votes)
  • 17%
    (170 votes)
984 votes total Vote Now


If the over/under on Varsho’s bWAR is 4.9 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    (613 votes)
  • 31%
    (288 votes)
901 votes total Vote Now


Other than left field, Varsho will see most of his defensive innings at

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    (61 votes)
  • 69%
    Center Field
    (666 votes)
  • 23%
    Right field
    (225 votes)
952 votes total Vote Now