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Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Addison Barger must return to his 2022 form to earn a shot on the Blue Jays

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Photo credit:© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
1 month ago
The Blue Jays may have an internal option for the hot corner.
There are several prospects of note who can step up and play third base, but none are as ready as 24-year-old Addison Barger.
Selected in the sixth-round of the 2018 draft, Barger impressed in 2021 when he slashed .249/.334/.492 with 18 homers in 374 plate appearances with the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays for a 120 wRC+ Still, his 32.9 K% was far too high to be considered a top prospect. That was until his breakout season in 2022.
Barger had a fantastic 2022 season between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, where he slashed .308/.378/.555 with 26 home runs, the second-highest in the organization that season. Altogether, his 151 wRC+ was the highest for any player in the organization with 110 plate appearances. Moreover, his K% dropped considerably from 32.9% in 2021 to just 24.9% in 2022.
The 2023 season wasn’t as kind to Barger. In his first month, Barger slashed just .237/.333/.329 with a homer in 87 plate appearances, along with a 31 K% for a 72 wRC+. His last game was on April 28 before missing a few months with a right elbow injury.
Upon returning to Triple-A on June 21, Barger slashed .254/.358/.424 with eight homers in 310 plate appearances for a 98 wRC+. The good news is that his K% dropped significantly to 19%, while he was walking 13.5% of the time.
For the entirety of the season, Barger slashed .250/.353/.403 with nine homers in 397 plate appearances in Triple-A for a 92 wRC+. He had a 13.1 BB% and a 21.7 K%, building upon his ability to not strikeout, but was far less efficient with the bat, potentially due to injury.
Third base is open for the taking, as it’s projected at the moment that it will be filled by a combination of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Cavan Biggio, and Santiago Espinal. Those three players combined for 17 home runs, far less production than you’d hope for at the hot corner.
From all accounts, the Jays still seem interested in bringing back Matt Chapman, who slashed .240/.330/.424 with 17 home runs in 581 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove calibre defence at third. However, if the Jays decide to spend that money elsewhere (say on a power-hitting outfielder), Addison Barger may earn a shot at third base if he impresses during spring training.
Either way, the competition for third base will be hot heading into 2024, and Barger has all the ability to earn a chance at the position sometime in 2024.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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