The Blue Jays used 20 different players at the designated hitter position last season, led by George Springer and his 38 games (mostly due to the knee injury) followed by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 28 and Rowdy Tellez at 19.
Last season went a bit different than what the fans and the front office were expecting when it came to who was going to occupy the DH role, especially with Springer and Alejandro Kirk both on the long-term IL last season and the club also trading Tellez midsummer. It makes sense that Springer will most likely spend some time in the role again next season after missing so much time last year with the injury but it has been almost four years since the Jays had a full-time DH in Kendrys Morales back in 2018.
While there are currently no candidates to take on the position internally on a full-time basis, the club will most likely have a DH on a committee style basis again, such as having the core players have an “off-day” in the position compared to being in the field. That being said, who are the players that could see the most time in the designated hitter position this season?
When he is not behind the plate, having Alejandro Kirk’s bat in the lineup is something manager Charlie Montoyo would probably like to have on a regular basis. Putting Kirk in the DH role still gives him regular at-bats and puts another power bat threat behind Springer, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Teoscar Hernandez at the top of the lineup. Although he spent a couple of months on the IL last year, the righty-batting Mexico product is always a danger to put the ball over the fence when he connects. Over 165 at-bats last season, Kirk hit eight long balls with 24 RBI while walking 19 times compared to striking out 21 and ending the year with a .764 OPS.
The only downside to having Kirk in the DH spot is if the starting catcher becomes injured and he has to fill in, the club loses their designated hitter and the pitcher now bats instead. This can be alleviated if Reese McGuire is still on the roster and can fill in defensively instead of Kirk but there is no guarantee he makes the team come Opening Day.