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Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Davis Schneider’s breakout was among the best stories from the season

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Photo credit:canadianbaseballnetwork.com
Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
It’s Christmas, so let’s get some good vibes going!
This is the 40-man Roster Review, in which we’re going to take a look back at each player on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster, and how they performed in 2023, as well as their outlook for 2024.
It’s not a hot take to say that Davis Schneider saved the Blue Jays season in 2023. You could tell that the 24-year-old was going to be a vital part of the Blue Jays’ second half of the season, as in his first at bat, he hit a home run.
For the season, Schneider slashed .276/.404/.603 with a 14.9 BB% and a 30.5 K%, along with eight homers (on top of the 21 he hit in Triple-A) in just 141 plate appearances. With 141 plate appearances being the minimum, Schneider’s 176 wRC+ in this time ranks second, only behind Shohei Ohtani’s 180 wRC+.
Now of course, others around him all played at least 100 games, and the fewest number of plate appearances in the top 11 was Aaron Judge with 458, who had an otherworldly year in 2022. It’s also worth mentioning that it seems unlikely that Schneider will be able to do that throughout the entire season.
In fact, from September 13 to the end of the season, he was held hitless for nine straight games, or 34 plate appearances before hitting two doubles in the final game of the year. In that stretch of 39 plate appearances, Schneider batted just .057/.154/.114 with those two doubles for a -23 wRC+.
Now, he was still hitting the ball hard, as he had an average exit velocity of 89.8 mph, which was actually higher than his season average of 89.5 mph. It’s worth noting that Schneider’s Barrel % dropped from his season average of 17.8% (10th-highest in the league, minimum 100 plate appearances) to 9.5% in the last part of the month. Still, there was some lack of luck involved.
Another fun Baseball Savant statistic to look at is Sweet Spot Percentage. This stat looks at balls in play with an exit velocity of 95 mph or harder (also known as hard hit balls), at a launch angle of 8 degrees to 32 degrees. Schneider had an insane 49.3 Sweet Spot % according to Baseball Savant, which ranked first (minimum 100 plate appearances), ahead of Freddie Freeman, Luis Arraez, Brandon Belt, Mookie Betts, and well, literally everyone. Teammate Cavan Biggio ranked 17th with a 41.4 Sweet Spot Percentage.
Sticking with Baseball Savant numbers, Chase % measures how many times a batter chases a pitch out of the zone. In this regard, Schneider had 15.7 Chase %, which tied for the second lowest in the league. Paired with a 14.9 BB%, Schnieder had one of the best eyes in the league in 2023. 
The big question is, with the Jays having numerous second basemen on the 40-man roster, will Davis Schneider be the Blue Jays starting second baseman? In my opinion, he should be, as the power is legitimate and he has one of the best eyes in the league with solid defence. Essentially, both counting stats and underlying analytics think Schneider is a good player.
However, competition for the keystone position will have a lot of competition, as Cavan Biggio is coming off a strong second half, and Santiago Espinal is looking to bounce back after a tough 2023. Not just that, but Ernie Clement is fully deserving of a roster spot, and Otto López is out of option years. This doesn’t even mention Orelvis Martinez and Addison Barger, but they may have a shot at third base.
In terms of gifts, Schneider doing what he did in August and September was the best Christmas gift of all, even if it was months away from the holidays. He fully deserves an opportunity to be the Blue Jays starting second baseman in 2024.

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

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