The emergence of Spencer Horwitz likely means the Blue Jays will go one-and-done on Brandon Belt

Toronto Blue Jays v Miami Marlins
Toronto Blue Jays v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

When it comes to Spencer Horwitz, the initial impression might be underwhelming. He doesn't have a particularly powerful bat, while defensively he's essentially limited to only being able to play one position.

Delve deeper however, and it's entirely feasible you've found a long-term solution at DH. Pure and simple, Horwitz can just plain hit.

This has been true at pretty much every level the 25-year-old has played at, during his rise through the ranks of the Blue Jays' farm system. The one exception was 2019 in Low-A Vancouver, where he had a lack of production, albeit in just nine games.

A disciplined approach

Horwitz's ability to make consistent contact with his bat in large part comes down to his discipline and patience. As per, he has one of the best plate approaches and abilities to control the strike zone in the Blue Jays organization.

Also helping the left-handed bat, is his ongoing determination to improve his hitting - an invaluable asset for any professional. Despite not having much power in the conventional sense, he's still experienced a surge in this respect after simplfying his swing.

As a result, Horwitz has been lighting it up in Triple-A Buffalo this season. In 94 games, he has a .326/.411/.483 slash line and .924 OPS.

First call-up to the Majors

As a result of the Timonium, Maryland native's impressive play, he was called up by the Blue Jays and made his Major League debut on June 18. He made an immediate positive impression, reaching base three times via a RBI single and two walks.

Overall, Horwitz made 10 plate appearances over the course of three games. In total he had two hits, one RBI, two walks and one run, before returning to Buffalo.

Even though the first experience of the Majors was brief, it made Horwitz even more determined to succeed. As per Chloe Wojtanik of, last month said:

"Getting a taste of the big leagues has made me hungrier than ever. I know how much work those guys put in and I now know how much more work I need to put in, so it just motivates me to work harder to get there and stay."

Where to put Horwitz?

There is the question of where Horwitz would fit in with the Blue Jays? With him mostly only playing first base on defence, he's not exactly going to replace Vladimir Guerrero Jr. anytime soon.

However, a clue to the 2019 24th round pick's future may have come in his recent call-up to the Majors, which was due to Brandon Belt being placed on the Injured List. In other words, he could well become the long-term replacement at DH.

Following a slow start to the season, Belt has been one of the top hitters and offensive weapons on the Blue Jays. One prime example of this is being second among all regular players, with a .823 OPS.

Belt not in long-term plans?

With the emergence of Horwitz however, there is an argument for the Blue Jays to be one-and-done with Belt. He's 35 years of age and only signed a one-year deal, for $9.3 million US.

We appreciate Belt would probably still have value next year, as a quality bat on the team. However, the Blue Jays theoretically have a ready-made replacement, who is both (much) younger and cheaper.

One way to get a clearer idea of what direction to take, would be to recall Horwitz to the Majors next month. In this respect, Michael Fisher picked him as one of the players most deserving of a call-up in September.

Whether this comes to fruition remains to be seen, however. The Blue Jays are right in the thick of a playoff race and may well decide other positions take priority, especially with active rosters now only expanding by two players on September 1.

Patience is key

Ultimately though, the Blue Jays can afford to be patient with Horwitz, at least for now. In the meantime, he will continue to develop in Buffalo.

This will include learning from the veteran players in the Bisons' clubhouse. As per Wojtanik, Horwitz said:

"Baseball is a game that is constantly changing and evolving, but the older guys have experience that we just don’t have. I’m just always trying to be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as I can from them."

NB - All statistics up to and including August 14.