Three prospects the Blue Jays need to protect from the Rule 5 Draft

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INF Addison Barger

Nobody has improved their draft stock more than infielder Addison Barger did this past season. The sixth-round pick back in 2018 has continuously worked his way through the Minor League system, starting the 2022 campaign in High-A but finishing the year in AAA with the Buffalo Bisons.

Barger authored a collective .308/.378/.555 slash line through 467 at-bats, finishing the year with 26 home runs, 91 RBI, and a .933 OPS. He amassed a 150 wRC+ and a 147 wRC+ in A+ and AA ball respectively and held a slugging percentage over the .500 mark in both leagues. Through just 8 games at AAA to end the year, the lefty-batting Washington product went 11 for 31, adding three home runs and 9 RBI. The infielder finished the year in the Arizona Fall League, collecting ten hits through 16 games.

On the diamond, Barger split last year between shortstop and third base in both Vancouver and New Hampshire. His arm is one of his best features, ranking at 65 on the 20-80 scale, which could have him competing for the hot corner with Martinez moving forward.

Similar to Martinez, Barger is also prone to the swing and miss, striking out 26.0% and 25.3% percent of the time in High-A and AA respectively. He does have plus power, knocking in 61 extra-base hits, accounting for 42.4% of his hits overall. Barger finished the season as the Jays' #13 ranked prospect and the updated version this offseason should easily see him crack the top ten.

The Jays will need to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, as the power and arm will likely be enough for a rival club to give him a chance next season should he for some reason be left off the 40-man roster. Once protected, Barger will likely start the year in AAA and could be finding some MLB action later in the year in a potential utility role, especially if he can continue to hit for extra bases.