Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Depth Chart: Shortstop

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
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The Blue Jays know who will be playing shortstop (almost) every game in 2023. Manager John Schneider might as well put Bo Bichette's name in the shortstop position on all the lineup cards before the season starts.

But who is behind Bo Bichette on the depth chart? Here are the names to look for if the team needs a fill-in during the season.

No. 1: Bo Bichette

Much like at first base, the Jays have no doubt who will suit up at short for them in 2023. And for Bichette, who takes pride in playing every day, as reported by Jeff Blair of Sportsnet, that means every single day. He started 157 of his 159 games at short last season, which is nearly unheard of in baseball today.

No matter how you slice it, Bichette was one of the worst defensive shortstops in 2022. Among qualified shortstops, the 25-year-old finished at the bottom of many defensive metrics. He was last with a -16 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and a -15.4 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). He finished second to last with 23 errors, a -7 OAA (Outs Above Average) and a -5 RAA (Runs Above Average).

Although he struggled at the plate for much of last season, he finished with a solid .290/.333/.469 slash line with 24 home runs, 91 runs scored, and 93 batted in. He finished third among shortstops with a 129 wRC+ and fifth with a 20.0 Offensive rating from FanGraphs.

Despite being one of the weakest defenders at the position, Bichette's dynamic bat ensures his safe standing at the top of the depth chart in Toronto.

No. 2: Santiago Espinal

Santiago Espinal has proven his versatility during his three seasons in a Blue Jays uniform. He's played all over the infield, and while the majority of his games have come at second and third, he's made 32 appearances at short over the past two seasons.

His ability to play any position makes him a valuable depth piece of the Jays. It still remains to be seen who will get the bulk of time at second this season, and if he loses the starting job to Whit Merrifield, he'll be the next man up at shortstop if the team needs a fill-in.

His All-Star bat can more than handle the everyday role if it comes to that. Despite fading in the second half last year, he finished with a .267/.322/.370 slash line, with seven home runs, 51 runs and RBI, and a 2.3 WAR.

Minor league depth

Otto Lopez

MLB Pipeline currently ranks Otto Lopez as the 14th overall Blue Jays prospect. He should be considered next on the shortstop depth chart as he's already made his major league debut, getting into a single game in 2021 and eight in 2022.

In his eight appearances at the end of last season, the 24-year-old played shortstop five times for a combined 17 innings. In the small sample of 10 plate appearances, Lopez impressed with his ability to get on base, notching six hits and driving in three runs.

While Lopez is not projected to make the Opening Day roster, there's a chance he's up with the big club again this season.

Addison Barger

Addison Barger has many clamoring for the team to add him to the Opening Day roster. Even so, the 23-year-old infielder is likely destined for Triple-A to begin the season. Considering that he started 2022 in High-A and only played eight games in Buffalo, it's a stretch to think the Jays will give him a big-league job come March 30.

Last year, Barger registered 60 games at shortstop and 42 at third base. He's made two appearances at short so far this spring. If he gets the call to Toronto this season, he likely won't see time at short unless there's an injury situation.

It's good to know that the organization's sixth-ranked prospect is on the 40-man roster and comfortable at the position, just in case there's an emergency.

Orelvis Martinez

The other depth piece the Jays will have stashed in Triple-A this season is Orelvis Martinez, their fourth overall and top power-hitting prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline.

Martinez spent the entire 2022 season in Double-A. He played 60 games as a shortstop and 43 at third base. Despite his raw power, which he displayed with his 30 home runs, at just 21 years of age he still has some kinks to work out in his approach at the plate.

The odds are that Martinez will spend the entire season in the minors and likely man the hot corner for the Buffalo Bisons.

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