Nathan Lukes is in an unusual position where he could potentially experience the highs and lows of Major League baseball without actually playing. Consider that at one point during the offseason he was projected as the starting left fielder, due to Varsho provisionally moving to centre field to replace the at-the-time departed Kiermaier.
With all due respect to Lukes this would have not been a good situation for the Blue Jays come opening day. Now though, he could well be about to experience the other extreme of losing a roster spot altogether, in part due to the recent signing of Justin Turner.
In truth though, the 29-year-old is no stranger to experiencing the precarious nature of baseball. Consider that last season saw him make the opening day roster, with him being recalled five times to the Blue Jays in total.
Even when he was with the Blue Jays, Lukes didn't get many chances to show what he could do. He totalled just 31 plate appearances in 29 games. It's no wonder he couldn't get any rhythm going, with a substandard .192/.290/.308 slash line, .598 OPS and 67 OPS+.
It really is unfair to be too critical of the Portland, Oregon native's offence or lack thereof, with him just needing more time and chances. Consider how effective he's been in Triple-A, with a .289/.355/.427 slash line and .783 OPS in 335 games over four seasons.
Along these lines, Luke does have some promising ZiPS projections for the season ahead. albeit it does come with the caveat of them being calculated prior to the addition of Turner. Regardless, for now they have him playing 95 games for the Blue Jays in 2024.
Further, the 2015 seventh round draft pick is projected to hit five homer runs and 41 RBI this year. This would contribute to a much improved .265/.321/.382 slash line and .703 OPS.
Even accounting for Lukes potentially not getting as much playing time as currently projected, this alludes to the upside that is seen with his bat. As a final note, it is worth noting he could offer some depth versatility in the outfield, having manned all three positions in his limited action last year.