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Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Nathan Lukes may not be the Blue Jays fourth outfielder in 2024

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Photo credit:© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
4 months ago
Despite spending a few months on the Blue Jays roster, Nathan Lukes didn’t get much of an opportunity.
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.
The 2023 season was Lukes’ first MLB season, slashing .192/.290/.308 with two extra base hits and a 12.9 BB% and a 29 K%. In total, this gave him a 67 wRC+, which is far below average, although his at bats were few and far between.
It was a different story in Triple-A, where he slashed .366/.423/.530 with five homers in 222 plate appearances, along with a 7.7 BB% and an 11.3 K%. This gave Lukes a 143 wRC+, his highest total since 2016 with Cleveland’s Single-A team. He also was the reason for my favourite clip from 2023.
The Blue Jays added Lukes to the 40-man roster at the conclusion of the 2022 season to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. That year, he led the Buffalo Bisons in home runs with 11, while slashed .285/.364/.425, along with a 9.7 BB% and an 18.4 K%.
Toronto evidently likes something about Lukes. He has shown an ability to make contact, even if it hasn’t translated to the big leagues. Moreover, he stole 20 bases in 23 attempts in Triple-A during the 2022 season, so he has some speed. Despite barely playing in the outfield, Lukes had 1 Defensive Runs Saved and 0.3 Ultimate Zone Rating in 67.2 innings in the outfield, playing all three positions.
The question regarding Lukes is if the Blue Jays will look to add a defensive-minded outfielder, as well as a mashing outfielder such as Teoscar Hernández or Jorge Soler. Even if they added both, Lukes would likely still be on the 40-man due to the fact that the Jays don’t have a bunch of MLB-ready outfielders.
Either way, let’s hope Lukes gets more playing time, whether that is more of an opportunity in the majors, or getting at bats with Buffalo.

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

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