Despite the fact that there are no glaring roster holes on the 2023 Toronto Blue Jays, things still don't seem to be firing on all cylinders for a club that was widely expected to be a powerhouse in the AL East.
Most of the regular offensive contributors are hitting the ball at a passable level, but nearly every member of the starting nine has ran into a cold streak at one point or another this year.
Down in the minor leagues, Spencer Horwitz, the No. 18 prospect in the Blue Jays system per MLB.com's latest rankings, is absolutely annihilating minor league pitching. The only issue is that there is no spot for him on the big league roster. In every way you can slice it, he is ready to play in the major leagues, but where in the world can the Jays play him?
Horwitz, 25, is a left-handed swinging first baseman by trade. He has begun lining up in left field on a more regular basis (undoubtedly to add to his value and positional versatility), but there are no scouting reports that will tell you he is a capable outfielder. Sure, the fielding percentage is there and he doesn't make errors out there, but his complete lack of range makes him a defensive liability in left, so he should be limited strictly to first base.
At the plate, he has been tearing it up for the Buffalo Bisons. In 43 games, he has a pair of home runs, 29 RBI, 34 walks against 38 strikeouts, a .325 average and an OPS of .886. While he's been experiencing a bit of a home run power outage at the dish, he still has been demonstrating a knack for hitting balls in the gap and drawing a ton of walks.
That essentially gives him the same exact profile as another left-handed first baseman on the Blue Jays roster, Brandon Belt. Belt is not going anywhere now that he has experienced a significant turnaround at the plate for the club. While he is only playing on a one-year deal, there's hope that Horwitz could replace him next season. The only issue with that is that Horwitz is ready right now and it's also worth mentioning that he is certainly never going to steal at-bats from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the club's primary first baseman.
So this begs the question to be asked, could Horwitz be better used as trade bait once the deadline rolls around? Possibly. With the way he's been swinging the bat, he is a player that could surely slot into any team's lineup as a first base/designated hitter option. If the Blue Jays continue to run into issues with their pitching being a bit unreliable, it's not an outlandish thought that Horwitz could be used to acquire either a starter or, the likelier outcome, a high-end relief pitcher.