With pitchers and catchers set to report Feb. 15, offence is still the biggest concern for the Blue Jays. The lineup underperformed as a collective in 2023, and ultimately proved to be the team's undoing come playoff time.
More must be expected from the lineup this coming season, if the Blue Jays are to become genuine contenders for the World Series. Fans know how much a revitalised Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would help, but what about some of the lesser names on the roster?
More specifically, we're talking about someone such as Spencer Horwitz, who while he doesn't have a particularly powerful bat, can just plain hit. How much he can benefit the Blue Jays may still be unclear, but baseball analysts and media personnel are at least sitting up and taking notice.
A top prospect
This includes MLB pipeline, who recently released their top 10 first base prospects for 2024 and right there at number nine, was the Blue Jays' young hitter. It is notable that MLB reporter Jonathan Mayo expands on every first base prospect mentioned in the article, with the exception of Horwitz, but the fact remains he was at least included in the list.
The 26-year-old is coming off his best season yet within the Blue Jays' organisation, which included lighting it up in Triple-A. In 107 games for the Bisons, he hit 10 home runs, 72 RBI and 78 walks, to go towards a .337 batting average and .945 OPS.
As we previously wrote, the main factor behind Horwitz's production, was a mature patience and discipline which belies his experience. He has one of the best plate approaches among all Blue Jays prospects, with an impressive ability to control the strike zone.
An excellent first impression in the Majors
As a result of his success in Buffalo, the left-handed bat finally made his Major League debut in June. He made an immediate positive impression, reaching base three times courtesy of a RBI single and two walks in his first game, versus the Rangers.
Horwitz would only make three appearances in total before returning to Buffalo, but he was eventually recalled in September. He had his coming out party in his second game back, with three hits, a walk, his first Major League home run, two RBI and a couple of runs in four at-bats against the Rockies.
The Timonium, Maryland native's production dipped somewhat after this although, as per Jays Journal's Eric Treuden, this was in large part due to mostly being deployed as a defensive replacement or pinch-hitter. All things considered, a .256 batting average and .726 OPS from just 44 at bats in 15 games, were pretty decent for his first year of exposure in the Majors.
The irony in all of this, is that Horwitz's inclusion among the top first base prospects may potentially prove to ultimately be inconsequential. Due to the combination of Guerrero and being limited in his ability to play elsewhere on defence, he could well be primed to have a future as the Blue Jays' main DH.
Horwitz is not projected by FanGraphs and other media outlets, to be a regular contributor this coming season. However, as with when he was not selected until the 24th round of the 2019 draft, this is a player used to proving the doubters wrong.
The Blue Jays need a boost to get the team playing to its offensive potential, which could include signing another bat. Don't be surprised though, if Horwitz comes out of left field -- in the metaphorical sense of course -- to surprise everyone by becoming an invaluable regular addition to the lineup.