How Davis Schneider's platoon situation affects the rest of the Blue Jays infield

Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays
Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages

The Blue Jays have an abundance of infielders. Where there’s numbers, there’s also a lot of talent in the case of the Blue Jays. Davis Schneider's versatility and powerful bat puts his name right in the middle of everything.

Schneider, a rookie sensation last year, appears to have a fluid role entering 2024. While he’s lined up to play his share of second base, the infield picture becomes cloudier once the Blue Jays face a left-handed starting pitcher. Reports from a few weeks ago spoke of Schneider platooning at both second base and left field, second base coming against righties and left field against lefties. This makes a lot of sense, as it makes up for the poor platoon splits from either Varsho or Kiermaier, but what does it do to the rest of the infield?

The only two Blue Jays infielders with firm spots are Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., playing shortstop and first base, respectively. The other six (or so) infielders will have to be flexible to find their playing time. 

As far as Schneider’s platoon goes, his occasional play in the outfield grass leaves the door open at second. This is the opening for Santiago Espinal to assert himself as a valuable platoon bat. Espinal, a career .301 hitter against left-handed pitching, is the logical platoon bat to factor in when accommodating Schneider’s move to the outfield. The move also has the chance to provide a defensive advantage as well. Despite a disappointing season with the glove in 2023, Espinal posted 4 DRS and 10 OAA as recently as 2022 as a second baseman. This defence paired with an effective bat against lefties makes for an excellent option for a platoon partner. 

However, Ernie Clement may have something to say about that.

The Blue Jays could have possibly shown their favour of Clement, as they opted to keep him in over Otto Lopez in the corresponding move for Yariel Rodriguez just a few days ago. Clement offers a valuable skillet, similar to that of Espinal. Breaking out last year with the bat, Clement hit a staggering .374 against left-handers in Triple-A last season over 71 games. This attribute, paired with a solid glove, helps make a pretty good case for Clement to be the platoon partner for Schneider in 2024. Clement having the more recent run of success opposed to Espinal.

Also worth noting are the minor league options remaining for each player. Clement is out of options, meaning if he doesn’t make the team he’d be exposed via waivers, likely being scooped up by a club needing infield depth. Espinal has two options remaining, and while it may sound absurd for him to be a Bison to open 2024, it could make the most sense on paper. 

To sum it up, expect to see either Espinal or Clement at second against lefties once the season gets underway. This is one of the very few interesting spring training battles amongst position players worth keeping an eye on.

As for the third base situation, a straight up platoon of Cavan Biggio and Isiah Kiner-Falefa makes the most sense. Justin Turner will make his occasional starts at the hot corner, but he’s in line to DH most of the time.