Blue Jays already reaping the benefits of the ‘Buffalo Boys’ at the big league level 

Has the Blue Jays next wave of young talent arrived?
Toronto Blue Jays v San Diego Padres
Toronto Blue Jays v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

With the limited number of free agent signings made this past offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays were counting on some of their internal options to step up this season to help support the core group. Now approaching three months into the 2024 MLB season, the so-called ‘Buffalo Boys’ have begun to meet the challenge in becoming significant contributors in the Blue Jays lineup.

In the case for Davis Schneider and Ernie Clement, both players had a strong spring showing that ultimately led to their well-earned spots on the Jays’ 26-man roster to start the season. Since then, both Schneider and Clement have evolved in their own way to become key members of the team.

With the ongoing struggles of veteran superstar George Springer this year, Schneider emerged as the ideal candidate to take over the leadoff spot in the lineup as a result of his solid on-base percentage. Not only has he held his own in the role, Schneider has also developed into one of the main offensive leaders for the Jays, as his 8 home runs and 33 RBI ranked him second on the team just behind outfielder Daulton Varsho. Moreover, with his added flexibility to play both in left field and second base, it enabled the Jays to constantly keep his potent bat in the lineup while deploying various roster formations.

For Clement, after spending the past three seasons trying to establish a role at the big league level, it appears as though he is starting to find his niche this year. Having developed under the guidance of coach and mentor John McDonald back in his days with the Guardians, Clement has now become a strong defensive player himself, as he has registered 5 DRS already this season in 49 games in the field. On top of that, he has chipped in with some solid offensive output by compiling a solid .264 batting average, .707 OPS, with 17 runs scored, 8 doubles, 3 home runs, 11 RBI and 3 stolen bases in just 121 at-bats.

More recently, both Spencer Horwitz and Addison Barger have joined in on the fun, helping to propel the Jays to their 5-3 record in their last eight games. Known as a prolific hitter throughout his minor league career, Horwitz and his lethal bat has finally arrived this season after a short cameo appearance down the stretch last year. In eight games to date, he has batted a strong .333 with a .789 OPS, along with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI, all while demonstrating his great plate discipline with 4 walks and just 5 strikeouts. Whereas for Barger, following a forgettable stint earlier this season in which he registered just one hit in 18 at-bats, he seemed much more calm and prepared this time up by posting 3 hits and 2 RBI in seven at-bats in his two games this past weekend.

More significantly, all four ‘Buffalo Boys’ were in the lineup for the first time this year in the Jays’ game against the Guardians on Sunday and played key roles in helping Toronto to victory. Together, they went 5-for-15 with 4 runs scored, 3 walks, while driving in three, including a home run by Clement that set the tone for the game. Their collective effort was a sight to behold amidst a struggling Jays’ season to date. If this was indeed a true glimpse of the future for the Blue Jays, then things are for sure looking a lot brighter than expected. Their surprising emergence may even be enough to get the team right back in the thick of things with hope to salvage their disappointing start to the season.