Addison Barger (MLB Pipeline #5, JaysProspectus #4)
Barger is a 24-year-old left-handed hitting third baseman and right fielder who plays at Triple-A Buffalo. His big breakout came in 2022 as he slashed .308/.378/.555 across 124 games. His 2023 campaign was a more difficult one as he struggled (72 wRC+) before hitting the injured list with elbow inflammation. When he returned to Triple-A he posted a 98 wRC+ over the remainder of the season and finished with a 91 wRC+ overall.
Barger's game power was noticeably worse as his home run total dropped from 26 to 9. Despite the difficult results, a lot of his under the hood numbers are very encouraging. There were plenty of concerns about his hit tool entering the year and he improved his swing decisions and contact skills, both were above average. He also consistently hits the ball hard and is capable of exit velocities up to 113 MPH. His issues this year appeared to be mostly mechanical but it's also fair to consider that his elbow may have been bothering him. Barger employs a big leg kick which may leave him vulnerable to gaps in his plate coverage and mishits. Additionally, his swing path is below average for a power hitter and he struggled to get his best contact up in the air.
Barger is naturally an infielder and his massive arm and below-average range suit him at third base. He also learned right field and looked the part of being a solid defender there. His added versatility and left-handed bat make him an interesting candidate for an Opening Day roster spot. He's knocking on the door and a strong spring may force the issue.