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Photo Credit: MiLB.com

Spencer Horwitz is the exact prospect the Jays need right now

Another season, another Spencer Horwitz article.

While I don’t think Horwitz is necessarily untouchable, I do think the Jays should think long and hard about trading the 24-year-old lefty.

The first baseman really started to make waves in the 2021 season with the Vancouver Canadians. Horwitz slashed .290/.401/.445 with ten homers for a wRC+ of 131. Horwitz also had a 27-game hitting streak, a record for the Northwest league. I wrote about his 2021 season here.

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The Jays sent him to play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League where he posted a .375/.460/.484 slash line in 74 plate appearances. Although he only hit one homer, he had a walk rate of 12.16% while only striking out 14.86% of the time. Horwitz was by far the best Blue Jays representative on the team, eclipsing Gabriel Moreno and Leo Jimenez.

Spencer started the 2022 season in Double A where you guessed it, he absolutely raked (and improved). In 281 plate appearances, Horwitz slashed .297/.413./.517, along with tying his career high in homers with 10. While he struck out (19.2%) more than he walked (15.3%), his wRC+ of 156 led to a promotion to Triple A.

You can imagine how Horwitz has done with the Bisons. In 34 plate appearances, he’s slashing .333/.412/.567 with a homer. Much like previous levels, he’s kept the K% down (14.7%) while walking quite a lot (11.8%). While this is a small sample size, it’s clear that the 24-year-old needed no adjustment time, even if he tapers off a bit.

Am I supposed to be impressed by a 24-year-old first baseman?:

Yes. While Horwitz was around the average age at every level, I think it’s safe to say that the first baseman has shown a plus plus hitting ability while his power is a plus tool.

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Now you may say “well, the Jays have first base locked down!” While this is true, when a player has a bat like this, you find a spot for them.

For example, Horwitz could get the occasional start at first base, as the Jays tend to DH Vlad Jr quite often. What about when a right hander is on the mound? Well, Horwitz has absolutely demolished right handed pitching this season, slashing .329/.448/.576 against them.

Not just that, but Horwitz has also been getting reps in left field. In 2019 with Low A Bluefield, he played 148.1 innings in left field. Last season with Vancouver, he played 44 innings in the outfield. In Mesa, he played 18 innings in the outfield. With New Hampshire, he played 81 innings in left field. Even in Buffalo, where the outfield is solidified, Horwtiz has played nine innings in the outfield.

While first base may be blocked, the Jays could eventually move on from one of their corner outfielders. If Horwitz can play solid defense in the outfield, his high average lefty bat could be incredibly useful in the outfield.

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David Korzeniowski, a Fisher Cats broadcaster, said this to me after Horwitz was moved to Buffalo:

“He’s one of the best hitters I’ve ever covered, probably the best. He’s up there with Will Brennan and Niko Kavadas”

Grades:

So you may be wondering, what are Horwitz’s grades like?

The first baseman ranked as the 30th best Jays prospect before the season began. Below are his grades according to MLB Pipeline:

Hit: 50

Power: 45

Run: 40

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Arm: 40

Field: 45

Overall: 40

I’m assuming Horwitz will rise up the list after the draft, but I want to give you my grades after watching him all season. I’ve been high on him since last season, ranking the 24-year-old as my 6th best prospect in the organization.

Hit: 55 

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Power: 50

Run: 40

Arm: 40

Field: 40

Overall: 45

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Honestly, I may be underrating Horwitz’s hit tool. The current Blue Jay I’d compare Horwitz to would probably be Cavan Biggio. While Horwitz doesn’t have the versatility or defense that Cavan does, his bat is quite reminiscent of Biggio.

Both are lefties with good eyes at the plate. However, Horwitz hits for a higher average, strikes out less and has more pop.

So when’s he going to be ready:

I get asked this quite a lot, but in all honesty, I think there’s a chance we see Horwitz as soon as this season. I assume that the Jays want to see a larger sample size against former MLB pitchers in Triple A. Not just that, but I think he has to play a little bit more in the outfield before getting a look with the big league team.

But no mistake about it, the Jays have a very good prospect developing in the minors.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. You can also follow David @d_korz83, he’s a great broadcaster and a great guy!

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