Top Blue Jays prospect Addison Barger will get reps in the outfield: What are his pathways to the big leagues, and when could we see him?
6 months ago
You may have heard the name “Addison Barger” since the start of spring training.
There are a few reasons why the 23-year-old has recently been in the news. For starters, the prospect looks like a Greek God, this is to say incredibly muscular. It makes sense, as he hit 26 home runs in the minors last season, the second most in the organization (He also had a batting average over .300)
The more interesting news, and what we’re going to look at in this article, is that the usual infielder is apparently going to get some repetitions in the outfield. From Blue Jays beat writer, Keegan Matheson.
A big reason Barger is considered a top-five Blue Jays prospect by many sites is due to what he offers with the bat, but Barger definitely has a lot to offer in the field. In his career, he’s played mainly shortstop and third base but has seen time at second base, and even first base in 2021.
It’s also worth noting in Baseball America’s 2023 Top 30 Blue Jays list, Barger’s arm is considered the strongest for an infielder. This means that there is defensive upside at third base and shortstop, along with outfield positions.
Barger isn’t a particularly big base stealer, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have speed, especially to play in the outfield. He’s already shown above-average range at both shortstop and third base, so tracking balls down in the outfield shouldn’t be an issue once he adjusts to the position.
What is Barger’s pathway to playing:
The Blue Jays roster is relatively set. They lack a right-handed batting outfielder who mashes left-handed pitching, but Barger isn’t that guy… right? Despite batting left-handed (while being a natural right-handed batter), Barger slashed .291/.364/.566 against left-handed pitchers with 4 homers. Does he fit the need? Not quite, but if Barger is playing in the outfield, it’s likely with the Buffalo Bisons.
The most obvious pathway for the 23-year-old is by playing second base. There’s a log jam at the position, as the Jays have three big league second basemen, along with Otto López on the way. However, no second baseman on the Blue Jays 40-man roster has the ceiling of Barger, so he may get his shot late in the summer or if injuries occur.
Looking ahead to the 2024 season, it’s very possible that third base will open up, as Matt Chapman is expected to get a payday. While he has stated he would like to stay with the Jays, the 2023-2024 off-season will be quite weak, so there’s a solid chance he will leave. It’s worth mentioning that third baseman Orelvis Martinez could also be ready for the big leagues come 2024.
Another option for the Jays is once Kevin Kiermaier’s contract after the 2023 season, they could place Barger in left field. It appears that after the 2023 season, Daulton Varsho will shift to centre field, leaving a spot open in left field for a prospect. Barger could be that guy, as the Jays don’t have a ton of outfield prospects currently in the upper minors.
Whether Barger makes the team as an outfielder, as an infielder, it’s only a matter of time before the 23-year-old gets an opportunity in the show.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.
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