4 dark horse candidates to fill out Blue Jays' 2024 Opening Day bench

With the 2024 regular season just two months away, we consider four players who have an outside chance to be on the opening day roster for the Blue Jays.

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins
Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
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As hard as it might be to believe for some, we are now only three weeks away from Blue Jays pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training. Even allowing for plenty of people calling the organisation's offseason a disappointment to date, this is still an exciting time of year for fans.

There will be plenty of questions which need answering ahead of the 2024 regular season, all centred around if the Blue Jays can go from a fringe contender to one which genuine aspirations of competing for the World Series.

This includes which of the younger players and prospects can find their way onto the roster for the beginning of the regular season. Here is a look at four candidates who are dark horses to be on the opening day roster in Tampa.

Addison Barger

The theme surrounding Addison Barger has always been about being patient with his development. That's what happens when you're drafted as a High School prospect.

This theme continued into last season, when Barger got off to a slow start with the Bisons, hi(low)lighted by a .237 batting average and .662 OPS through his first 20 games in Triple-A. In fairness though, he did have to contend with an elbow injury which sidelined him for six weeks.

In any event, the patience in the 24-year-old did eventually pay off, as he heated up later on in the season. He was particularly impressive during July and August, with a .278/.397/.469 slash line.

Come season's end, Barger had produced nine home runs, 46 RBI and 52 walks in 88 games for the Bisons. This all contributed towards a .250/.353/.403 slash line and .756 OPS, but the promise comes in him still being capable of so much more.

The left-handed bat has filled out and improved his strength, which only helps his hitting potential at the plate. He has a superior throwing arm which can be utilised in a number of positions defensively; he was originally projected to end up at either third base or shortstop, but it's noteworthy that he saw more playing in right field last season.

In theory -- and probably reality -- the odds are against Barger being named to the Blue Jays' opening day roster, with him more likely making his Major League debut at some point later on in the season Of course this could all change, if he has an excellent spring training.

In this respect, last year's spring training saw the 2018 sixth round draft pick produce a .294/.351/.441 slash line and .792 OPS in 34 at-bats. As tough as it will be for him to make the opening day roster, he still has the potential to achieve just this.