Blue Jays Nation’s 2023 Preseason Top 50: #6 Spencer Horwitz
1 year ago
This is quite ironic and unintentional, but today’s prospect, Spencer Horwitz, ranked as Blue Jays Nation’s 6th best prospect in the 2022 preseason list.
I’m higher than most on the 25-year-old first baseman/left fielder. The hit tool is arguably the best in the organization, especially as Gabriel Moreno (who would’ve ranked second) was traded in late December.
But before we look at why I’m so high on him, let’s view the criteria.
Instead of writing this out every time I did for the mid-season Top 60, I’ll copy and paste my criteria for how I rank and scout these players.
There are many factors that determine a top prospect. The eye test is the biggest driver in determining a top prospect, but proximity to the majors, ceiling, and floor is also important. Moreover, statistics are another key ingredient, as everything works together to give you numbers.
As for the grades, it’s important to remember that they are relative to the league in which they play. A kid from Dunedin is not going to have a 50-grade hit tool if he were placed in the big leagues. But relative to the league in which he plays, a .300 hitter is eligible to have that grade.
For these prospects, I’ll be reviewing their background, numbers in the minors, pitch mix (if they’re a pitcher), and giving a scouting report (if feasible, rookie league guys are difficult).
Let’s jump in!
Spencer Horwitz‘s career so far:
The 25-year-old first baseman/left fielder was selected in the 24th round of the 2019 draft.
Horwitz spent his first half-season in 2019 with the rookie league team, where he slashed .330/.395/.471 with three homers in 233 plate appearances. It was quite apparent that he was a contact hitter, as he had a 9.9 BB% and a 10.3 K% for a 139 wRC+.
The 2021 season saw the first baseman play with the Vancouver Canadians, where he slashed .290/.401/.445 in 469 plate appearances. That season, he also hit 10 homers and had a higher BB% (14.9%) than K% (14.1%) for a 131 wRC+. During the 2021 season, he had a 27-game hitting streak, and his home runs were diminished due to the ballpark the Vancouver Canadians played in. He also hit two home runs in 4 games during his brief promotion to Double-A New Hampshire that season.
Horwitz started the 2022 season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he slashed .297/.413/.517 with 10 homers in 281 plate appearances. Like in previous years, he had a very high 15.3 BB%, and a relatively low 19.2 K% in those 281 plate appearances. He also had a 154 wRC+ in Double-A before his promotion to Buffalo.
In Triple-A Buffalo, Horwitz slashed .246/.361/.363 with two homers in 2020 plate appearances. Moreover, he had a 14.9 BB% and a 20.3 K%, still excellent splits. At one point during the season, Horwitz was dealing with a thumb injury, which could have explained the lack of power and the 101 wRC+, the lowest of his career with 100+ plate appearances.
Tall, muscular frame with little room for projection. Horwitz’s calling card is that he’s a contact hitter and has one of the best hit tools in the entire organization. He avoids striking out while maintaining a high BB%, and can hit the ball anywhere in the zone. A first baseman by trade, Horwitz can also hit the ball out of the park but tends to hit the ball in the gaps more often than not, but the raw power is there. Below average runner, solid routes in the outfield and has a strong arm.
Where he’ll start in 2023:
The 25-year-old first baseman/left fielder is likely to start his 2023 season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Horwitz was added to the 40-man roster in November, which means that he could see an opportunity with the Jays as soon as next season.
To progress to the next level, Horwitz needs to continue to get reps in left field, as that will be a determining factor in whether or not he’ll be a full-time Blue Jay at some point in his career. Additionally, if he can return to hitting for power as he did before joining Buffalo, that may force the Blue Jays’ hands.
Next up is a hard-throwing pitcher who had a drastic rise in the Blue Jays system in 2022.
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As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.
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