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Blue Jays add Spencer Horwitz, Addison Barger, Yosver Zulueta, and Orelvis Martinez to the 40-man roster

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Photo credit:Blue Jays PR
Brennan Delaney
2 months ago
The Blue Jays’ roster has officially been set ahead of the Rule 5 draft.
To no one’s surprise, right-handed pitcher Yosver Zulueta, third baseman/shortstop Orelvis Martinez,  first baseman Spencer Horwitz, and third baseman/shortstop Addison Barger have been added to the 40-man roster.
Update: To make room for Zulueta, Horwitz, Martinez, and Barger, Foster Griffin was released, while Bradley Zimmer and Raimel Tapia were designated for assignment.
Let’s look at the prospects added to the 40-man roster.

Yosver Zulueta:

The 24-year-old Zulueta had a combined 3.72 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched in all four “A” levels of the minors in 2022. He had a fantastic 33.9 K% but struggled with the walks as he had a 12.9 BB%, which increased with each level he pitched at. This is to be expected, as he’s missed the last two seasons due to injuries and the plague year.
Aside from the high strikeout rate and solid results, Zulueta was added to the 40-man roster due to the tools and potential he has. The Cuban has an 80-grade fastball which often reaches 100 mph, a plus slider, and a plus changeup, as well as an average curveball.
It’s possible, potentially even likely, that we will see Zulueta on the Blue Jays in 2023.

Addison Barger:

No Jays system position player had a year like Addison Barger. The 23-year-old slashed .308/.378/.555 with 26 homers in 526 plate appearances in High A, Double A, and Triple A. 
Although he likely ran out of gas in the Arizona Fall League (slashed just .189/.318/.321 in 63 plate appearances), Barger has taken a tremendous step forward in his development. The biggest change was the approach at the plate, which saw his K% drop from 32.9% in 2021 to 24.9% in 2022 across the three levels.
Prior to the Arizona Fall League, I had stated that if he performed well there and in spring training, he had a legitimate shot to make the Jays out of camp. While the chances of that coming true are less likely now, there’s certainly a possibility that Barger could be one of the first called up to the majors.

Orelvis Martinez:

Rebuilding teams often look for loud tools in the Rule 5 draft. Despite slashing just .203/.286/.446 for a wRC+ of 96 in 492 plate appearances, Martinez has been added to the 40-man roster.
Why? Well as a 20-year-old, Martinez hit 30 home runs in Double A, which is absolutely incredible. Say what you want about the rest of his game (which will get better with experience), but Martinez’s raw power would have certainly seen him selected had he not been added.

Spencer Horwitz:

Horwitz (who celebrated a birthday yesterday) was on the bubble to make the 40-man, and it’s a good thing they added him in my opinion.
The 25-year-old first baseman/outfielder slashed .275/.391/.452 with 12 homers in 483 plate appearances in 2022. He also had a 15.1 BB% and 19.7 K% between Double A and Triple A, and is one of the best pure-hitting prospects in the Jays organization.
Spencer Horwitz has been getting repetitions in left field and is competent in the position. This is good, as if he only played first base, he would be blocked by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Notable omissions:

A few prospects weren’t protected but are at risk of being drafted. Let’s give a quick rundown on two of these players, as well as why they may not have been protected.

Gabriel Martinez:

The 20-year-old slashed .293/.355/.477 with 14 homers in 389 plate appearances, mainly playing between Low A and High A. Prior to 2022, G.Martinez had only hit two homers in his professional career, but the addition of power has elevated him to become the Jays’ top outfield prospect.
The reason he wasn’t added is likely due to his age and the level he plays at. If a team were to select him, they would have to keep him on the big league roster the entire season, and despite his development, G.Martinez isn’t ready for the big leagues.

Adrián Hernández:

Pitching with the Buffalo Bisons throughout the season, Hernández had a 4.96 ERA and 4.76 FIP in 32.2 innings pitched. While that doesn’t sound like a prospect the Jays could’ve protected, the 22-year-old had a 32.1 K% and 11.7 BB% with the team.
You probably know this because you’re very smart, but Hernandez doesn’t strike batters out with velocity, rather he uses his 80-grade changeup/screwball/witchcraft pitch to get some ugly whiffs. 
My best guess as to why he was left off the roster is that teams usually look for velocity in relievers, not plus plus pitches which are usually secondary pitches. Hernández also had a 7.23 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched after returning from a shoulder injury.
Out of the three notable omissions, Hernández has the highest likelihood of being drafted. 

Which other prospects are Rule 5 eligible:

Without going into too much detail, here are some other names that could be drafted. For further readings, you can read the position player article herewhile you can read the pitching article here.
2B/LF Davis Schneider
OF Chavez Young
1B Rainer Nuñez
SS/3B Alex De Jesus
UTL Tanner Morris
 
LHP Brandon Eisert
RHP Eric Pardinho
RHP Lazaro Estrada
RHP Bowden Francis
RHP Adam Kloffenstein
LHP Jimmy Robbins
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.

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