Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Depending on how the 2024 roster is constructed, Spencer Horwitz may not get an opportunity with Toronto

Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
The Blue Jays may be looking to bring in a first baseman through free agency, but they already have a pretty darn good backup in their organization.
The first thing that immediately jumps out with Spencer Horwitz is just his ability to hit. While the International League is certainly a hitters league, the 26-year-old’s 2023 season is nothing new for the former 24th-round pick.
Last season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Horwitz slashed .337/.450/.495 with 10 homers in 484 plate appearances, along with a higher BB% (16.1%) than K% (14.9%). This gave him a 144 wRC+, the second-highest in the organization with 200 plate appearances or more, behind just Alan Roden, another prospect with an exceptional hit tool.
Think this season was just a fluke? Think again, as Horwitz slashed .275/.391/.452 with 12 home runs in 483 plate appearances between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. His 132 wRC+ this season was fifth in the organization by players with 200 or more plate appearances.
The 2021 season was no different, as Horwitz slashed .294/.400/.462 with 12 home runs in 485 plate appearances between High-A Vancouver and Double-A New Hampshire, with just 16 plate appearances coming with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Like with the 2023 season, Horwitz had a higher BB% (14.4%) than K% (14%).
So, there’s an obvious track record with the left-handed first baseman being able to hit for a high average while also getting on base and not striking out. However, the power isn’t exactly what you’d want in a backup first baseman, as he only has 38 professional home runs in his five-year career.
The big question is will Horwitz even get an opportunity with the Jays. He’s done everything possible to deserve a shot, as the past three seasons, he’s been a top 7 or higher player in the organization in terms of the wRC+ stat. Still, first base is filled by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who has played in all but nine games the past three seasons (with significant time at designated hitter).
Speaking of the designated hitter, if the Jays do decide to sign one of the numerous DH’s available in free agency, that could make Horwitz’s role redundant, especially if they sign Rhys Hoskins.
The fact of the matter is that Horwitz’s role on the 2023 Blue Jays comes down to how they construct their roster for the remainder of the off-season. If they re-sign say Matt Chapman, it likely means that their outfield is set, and Horwitz could fill in at left field as the fourth outfielder while also backing up first.
If the Jays decide to sign a designated hitter, or even Cody Bellinger, Horwitz may find himself playing another season in Buffalo where he’ll need to showcase his power better.
Either way, having depth is never a bad thing, and it’s nice to see the upper-minors percolating with talent.

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


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