The Blue Jays might have this year's Davis Schneider waiting in the wings in Triple-A

Will Robertson at Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day
Will Robertson at Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

If you're looking for the next Blue Jays underdog story, look no further than Buffalo Bisons outfielder Will Robertson. You won't find him on any top prospect lists but dating back to the second half of last season all he has done is mash. Since July 1 of 2023, he's slashing .318/.386/.640 which is good for a 1.026 OPS and a 170 wRC+. Those numbers also don't include his impressive Arizona Fall League Stint in which he had a .935 OPS in 89 plate appearances. He has been particularly good to start this year with a .324/.465/.794 slash line which is a 209 wRC+. And this comes at Triple-A, a level that he is just starting out at.

So how does a 26-year-old with pedestrian career minor league numbers suddenly turn into one of the best hitters in minor league baseball? The key for Robertson has been maximizing damage on contact. Like Schneider, there's a fair share of swing and miss in his game but hitting the ball hard and consistently putting the barrel on the ball has allowed him to put up gaudy slugging numbers.
Robertson slugged 19 home runs in 412 plate appearances last year and he has already hit 4 in 43 plate appearances this year with 8 of his 11 hits having gone for extra bases. His mark of 9.3% barrels per plate appearance is well above average and his 91.8 MPH average exit velocity would be 2nd on the Blue Jays, only behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. For a team like the Blue Jays that finds themselves 30th in barrel rate and 29th in average exit velocity, any boost in these area would be welcome.

The key for Robertson will be if his hit tool is MLB-caliber. Too often, older players who tear up the minor leaguers with power get to the big leagues and find that they can't get to their power in games because big league pitchers are capable of consistently exploiting their weaknesses. Unlike Schneider, Robertson's plate discipline is not a strong suit and that does give him a lower floor of production. However, Robertson can use his aggressiveness to his advantage by punishing pitches early in the count and avoiding strikeouts by not putting himself in as many two-strike counts. There's a difficult balance here and it's something that Robertson will have to manage.

It would seem that Robertson is in the mix for a call-up if a player goes down with injury or if there's a performance related change. As a left-handed hitting corner outfielder, there's some overlap with Addison Barger, who is also off to a great start at Triple-A, but if Robertson keeps hitting like he has been, he'll force the hand of a team that needs all the offensive firepower they can get.