Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro - USA Today
Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: It’s a make or break year for Otto López
2 months ago
The big question regarding Otto López heading into 2024 is where does he fit on this roster?
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.
As you may know, López is out of options years heading into the 2024 season. To make matters worse, the 25-year-old utility player had an awful 2023 season, slashing just .259/.313/.343 with two homers in 346 plate appearances with the Triple-A Bisons.
He’s only a season removed from a pretty good season which featured a 20+ game hit streak, and which saw him slash .297/.378/.415 with three homers in 391 plate appearances for a 114 wRC+, as well as a 10.5 BB% and 15.6 K% with Buffalo in 2022. Towards the end of the season, he appeared in eight games with the Jays and had six singles in just 10 plate appearances.
Eventually, he was added to the 26-man roster so he could be placed on the 60-day IL, a pretty savvy move by the Blue Jays to remove him from the 40-man roster to activate Hyun Jin Ryu.
The 25-year-old second baseman/shortstop/centre fielder relies on two tools, his hit tool and his speed (which sort of ties in together). There’s a chance that López was hurt for the 2023 season, which impacted his speed, which in turn, dropped his batting average.
However, he’s seemingly found his game with Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League, where he’s slashing .314/.355/.488 with two homers in 93 plate appearances.
The Blue Jays have a plethora of players that can play second base, and bring more to the table than López. For example, Ernie Clement hit 12 home runs in 2023, more than he had in his entire professional career coming into the season. Like López, he plays all over the field. Of course, the Jays already have three second baseman/utility players on the 26-man roster, Davis Schneider, Cavan Biggio, and Santiago Espinal. Not to mention prospects like Orelvis Martinez, and Addison Barger.
López should survive until spring training, but all of this is to say that López will need to impress big time in Spring Training, or the Jays will be forced to make a transaction around him, whether that be trading for a lower minor prospect, or designating him for assignment.
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