#3 Nathan Lukes
For Nathan Lukes, let’s just say it was the best of times, and at the same time, it was the worst of times. Back in Spring Training, when he beat out some tight competition to grab the last spot on the Jays’ Opening Day roster, he certainly believed that he was finally getting his chance to play in the big leagues for good. After all, he had spent the previous eight seasons in the minor leagues, working diligently day in and day out, just hoping one day he would earn a promotion to the highest level. Well, his dream finally came true in 2023 as he was with the big boys to start the season.
However, once the season commenced, Lukes would find himself struggling to get valuable playing time, as he was used mainly as a pinch runner and/or defensive replacement, similar to the role McCoy has been playing right now. Once the Jays grabbed Jordan Luplow off waivers from the Atlanta Braves in early April, he eventually replaced Lukes on the MLB roster. Nevertheless, Lukes would get his chance once again when Luplow was sent down to the minors in late April, but similar to his first stint with the ballclub, he would see limited playing time again.
This trend would remain for pretty much the rest of the season, as Lukes would yo-yo between the majors and minors based on roster management. In total, he managed to appear in 28 games at the major league level, going 5-for-25 with four runs scored, one double, one triple and two RBI. Defensively, he was spotless in the outfield, in addition to registering one outfield assist in over 64 innings of work. He has continued to shine during his other times in the minors, as he has been raking all year, hitting .348 with a .956 OPS, 29 runs scored, 13 doubles, five home runs and 28 RBI. So if he was given more of a chance with the Jays, he probably would have provided a much greater impact than he did. But with the presence of both Whit Merrifield and more recently Cavan Biggio, the need for an extra outfielder was no longer needed, at least for this year. So the chances of seeing Lukes again with the Jays this year will probably be slim to none, so he will have to work hard once again to compete for a spot in the upcoming season.