Of our four dark horse candidates to be on the opening day roster, Orelvis Martinez arguably has the best chance of making this become a reality. He is one of just two Blue Jays players in Baseball America's 2024 top-100 prospects list (subscription required), along with Ricky Tiedemann.
Martinez was the Blue Jays' main international free agent signing back in 2018, receiving a $3.5 million bonus. He showed promise early on, before suffering an enforced setback due to COVID-19.
The 22-year-old really saw everything come together last season, first in Double-A New Hampshire. He produced 17 home runs, 46 RBI and 41 walks in 70 games, as he recorded an .825 OPS and earned his first promotion to Triple-A.
Once in Buffalo, Martinez was even better, as he hit 11 homers and 48 RBI in 55 appearances, along with 26 walks. Comes season's end, he had recorded an impressive .263/.340/.507 slash line and .847 OPS with the Bisons.
The Dominican Republic native has always had the power, but what really stood out in 2023 was his improved plate discipline. It is this combination of patience and strength which has resulted in more contact, and made his even more dangerous.
Defensively, Martinez will definitely remain in the infield -- unlike Barger -- with his long-term prospects seeing him more likely to play at third base rather than shortstop. Regardless, he has outstanding arm strength to handle either position, although he does need to improve on his movement around the field.
As things stand, Cavan Biggio is first in the Blue Jays' depth chart at third base, with the recently signed Isiah Kiner-Falefa among those in line to provide depth at the position. However, when combined with Matt Chapman's departure, Martinez does not exactly face any intimidating obstacles in any quest to be on the bench come opening day, especially if he impresses during spring training.