Spencer Horwitz has given the Blue Jays exactly what they’ve needed on both sides of the ball

Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians
Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Guardians / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Spencer Horwitz may not have made the Opening Day roster, but he’s proving that omission may have been a mistake. Since his call-up from the Buffalo Bisons in early June, the 26-year-old has exceeded expectations, collecting 16 hits in 46 at-bats (.348), with two doubles, two homers, six runs driven in, nine runs scored, and a 1.013 OPS.

The most surprising thing about Horwitz since his promotion to the big leagues has been his play in the field, mostly at second base. A natural first baseman, the former 24th-round pick has seamlessly transitioned to the keystone position at the highest level. He made a key error during Monday’s gut-punch loss at Fenway Park, but otherwise has made all the plays and looked comfortable doing so.

The other question about Horwitz was his need for more big power during his minor-league career. The Radford University product busted out with two homers in Sunday’s loss to the Guardians and his only other home run, hit last summer in Colorado, was a no-doubter. With less than 100 big-league ABs, the power shown so far has been on display and could continue to develop. He’s never hit more than 12 dingers in a season, and that was at the Double- and Triple-A levels, but it’s easier to accept a second baseman with 10-15 home run potential who also has the potential to hit 30+ doubles a season.

When Cavan Biggio was designated for assignment a few weeks ago, it hardly came as a shock. Still, some fans wondered if Horwitz was a better option and how he’d adjust to a relatively new assignment at second base. Just about three weeks into the experiment, the left-handed hitting on-base machine (.492 OBP) has been everything the Jays could ask for and more.

Horwitz has a hard-hit rate that’s around the MLB average. His elite plate recognition (18.6% walk rate, MLB average is 8.5) and low strikeout totals (6 in 59 plate appearances, 10.2%) mean he’s only swinging at pitches he can drive, and he’s been doing plenty of that lately.