Spencer Horwitz: Long-term piece or eventual trade chip?

All Spencer Horwitz has done since getting the call this year is hit, but do the Blue Jays see him as a piece of the future? They should.
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Spencer Horwitz
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Spencer Horwitz / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

If the Toronto Blue Jays are looking to rebuild or retool on the fly, if it hasn't already begun, they have the second baseman of the future in the fold. Spencer Horwitz, one of the Buffalo Boys, has emerged on the MLB stage and done exactly what you'd expect after seeing what he did in the minors.

All Horwitz does is hit. He hits, he hits again and then he hits some more.

After a slightly less-than-convincing debut in 2023, Horwitz tore up Triple-A pitching this season and has done nothing but impress with the Blue Jays. Since getting the call just over a month ago, the lefty hitter is slashing .333/.455/.494 with a .416 wOBA and 174 wRC+ in 28 games.

Spencer Horwitz: Long-term piece or eventual trade chip?

If you really want to get a sense of how valuable he has been, look at the 1.1 fWAR he has compiled in his 19 games just as a second baseman (his total fWAR is 1.3). Where does that rank him among his peers?

The 26-year-old ranks 11th in fWAR at second base. Here's the amazing part, he's done it in just 73 plate appearances at the position. That's a fraction compared to the 10 players ahead of him, who have a minimum of 290 plate appearances.

Since his season debut on June 8, his .449 on-base percentage ranks first among second basemen (min. 60 PA), while his .310 batting average ranks seventh and his .500 slug ranks third.

Horwitz's hitting profile makes him a piece the Blue Jays should plan to build around

While he doesn't impact the ball with prodigious power, with an average exit velocity of 88.4 mph, he connects the right way. His 40.3 percent launch angle sweet-spot rate would be top 20 in the league if he had enough at-bats to qualify. He'd be above the likes of Mookie Betts, Adley Rutschman and Nolan Arenado, if that gives you a better idea.

That's not to say he won't get better at hitting for power; some players find more power in the majors when they come in with an advanced hit tool. He can pop a homer here or there — he has three in 99 plate appearances. You give him 500 to 600 plate appearances and he could wind up with 15 long balls. He has a max exit velocity of 106.5 mph this year. It's not elite, but not horrible. It's just shy of Danny Jansen's 106.7 mph max.

What he does do is connect for a lot of line drives, which is a good indicator that a player will get plenty of hits. At 26.9 percent, almost a third of his batted balls are line drives. And line drive percentage is one of the numbers Horwitz cares about, as he told FanGraphs' David Laurila in a discussion about hitting.

"I’d say a combination of a few [numbers]. I think line drive percentage is really important," Horwitz said, per Laurila. "I think chase rate is really important. I’d say hard-hit rate is important. Those three things."

He also makes good decisions at the plate, which isn't always easy for players to do when they make the jump from Triple-A to the majors. He walks more than he strikes out, just like he did in Buffalo. He doesn't chase much, and he barely whiffs. That's a great combination of skills for a No. 2 hitter.

"I think that goes to preparing for what the pitcher does well and what he’s trying to do to me," Horwitz told Laurila about his approach and not swinging at pitches out of his happy zones. "It’s also understanding what I do well and what I don’t do well. And you can train swing decisions."

With baseball reverting back to a game where more balls in play, not just the home run, is valued, Horwitz has the skill set to excel.

If they are keeping him, it's time for the Blue Jays to let Horwitz play every day

There's always the chance that the front office sees him as a trade chip and nothing more. He could just be found value after being a 24th-round pick, and they might want to try to sell high. But this is the kind of bat that a MLB team should want to have at the top of the lineup, supporting the likes of Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., assuming they're still here after July 30, and building for the future.

After enduring the now thankfully concluded Cavan Biggio era at second base, Spencer Horwitz has been a breath of fresh air for Blue Jays fans. He has just as good an eye at the plate and he's a professional hitter who adds plenty of value.

It's time that manager John Schneider lets Hortwitz show what he can do against left-handed pitching and earn an everyday role, at least for next season. He already has four hits in 11 at-bats against lefties. The Jays need to stick him at the top of the lineup no matter who's on the mound and see what they have.

He can play second, he can spell Guerrero at first, he can DH. One thing is for sure: no matter where Horwitz plays, he's going to hit. Let's hope he sticks around and does his hitting in a Blue Jays uniform.