He brings a known quantity to a group that's trending the right direction but remains less than a sure thing on a few fronts -- most notably the outfield, where Randal Grichuk has run hot and cold throughout his career and Teoscar Hernandez had known only mediocrity before last year.
There's room for both still, along with Springer and Lourdes Gurriel in what should start out as a four-player carousel between the outfield and DH, but if either Grichuk or Hernandez doesn't follow through, Springer gives the Blue Jays more leeway to change things up.
And that's about the extent of the Fantasy Baseball impact, I think. Of course, we've known who Grichuk is for a few years now, so it's mostly about Hernandez. In a 60-game season, elite production counts for only so much, especially from a player with no track record to support it and especially when it's accompanied by a 30.4 percent strikeout rate.
And yet Hernandez is still going 72nd overall on average, according to FantasyPros. Any hit to his job security, no matter how subtle, might be enough for me to pass him up at that price. It's also possible the Blue Jays are signaling their own skepticism of Hernandez with this massive investment in Springer.
There may be an impact on other Blue Jays hitters with regard to lineup position, but presumably Springer will slot in at the top with everyone else sliding down a spot. Maybe if Cavan Biggio dropped to the nine hole, he'd lose some of his clout, but batting second or third instead of leadoff won't make a substantive difference for him.
As for Springer himself, he's about as consistent a performer as they come, consistently ranking among the top outfielders in Fantasy Baseball since he first broke into the league. He turned his production up a notch in 2019, setting career highs with a .292 batting average, 39 homers and .974 OPS, before regressing to numbers more typical of him last year:
But the curious thing about his supposed return to normalcy last year is that his expected stats, according to Statcast, were actually more in line with that monstrous 2019. A .294 xBA and .570 xSLG paint a rosier picture than his actual stats do, satisfactory though they were. Oh, and it just so happens Springer was contending with a wrist injury at the start of the year, needing a September surge to bring his numbers up to snuff. He hit .341 with nine homers and a 1.097 OPS over his final 23 games.
Taking into account the full context of his 2020 season, it's possible Springer's likeliest outcome is closer to the 4.11 Head-to-Head points per game he averaged in 2019 than the 3.55 points per game he averaged last year (roughly the difference between Fernando Tatis and Bo Bichette, to put it another way).
That's maybe a glass-half-full-outlook, but regardless of where the Blue Jays play in 2021 -- be it Toronto, Buffalo again or their training site in Dunedin, Fla., it should be a slightly better hitting environment than Springer was used to in Houston. As long as he continues to bat leadoff, I'd point the arrow slightly up and target him as a top-12 outfielder with the potential for more.