Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Depth Chart: Third base
Fortunately for the 2023 Toronto Blue Jays, third base is not a position to worry about. Really, there are almost no real position battles going on during Spring Training due to the fact that the Jays essentially have a star-level player at every single spot on the diamond.
While there won't be any real competitions going on at third, there are many players on the 40-man roster who are capable of playing the position. Defensive versatility is such an important trait in today's game and to have mutliple players capable of lining up at third base is an excellent aspect to have on a roster.
Let's take a look at the organizational depth chart at third base.
No. 1: Matt Chapman
As if there was ever any doubt. Chapman, 29, is one of the best defensive third basemen in the league and is entering his walk year, meaning his contract is up at the end of the season and he will be hitting free agency.
The three-time Gold Glove Award winner is an incredible talent on the field and would look great manning the position for the foreseeable future. The only issue with that fantasy is the fact that Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres just agreed to a massive contract extension that likely raised Chapman's price tag above what the Jays would like to pay him.
Whether it's one year or five more years, enjoy this guy manning third base while you can, Blue Jays fans. He is a one-of-a-kind talent over there.
No. 2: Santiago Espinal
Everyone knows the story of Espinal and how his red hot start in 2022 earned him a spot in the All-Star Game, only for him to completely fall off in the second half of the season.
2023 will be an important year for the 28-year-old as he looks to prove he's legit, rather than continuing a downhill descent like he was last season.
In 135 games last year, Espinal hit seven home runs with 51 RBI, posting a 99 OPS+ and 1.8 oWAR alongside 0.9 dWAR. He is a strong defender who can swing the bat a bit as well, so he is the easy choice to backup Chapman at third.
No. 3: Addison Barger
The placing of Barger in the third-string spot is a bit of a hot take, but there's a method to this madness. The only other real contender at this position is Cavan Biggio, who was one of the worst defenders in all of baseball back in 2021 when he was given an extended look at third base.
For now, Barger's gotta be the No. 3 option.
The 23-year-old has been on fire in Spring Training so far and has been forcing his way onto the radar for the Blue Jays brass. His lack of experience at Triple-A (eight games) will likely keep him off the Opening Day roster, but he is near the top of the list for injury replacements.
No. 4: Cavan Biggio
Another player swinging a hot bat in spring, Biggio, 27, had a chance to play third base on a full-time basis back in 2021, making 52 appearances and playing over 411 innings at the position. He made nine errors and was in the seventh percentile for Outs Above Average on the year, per Statcast.
Biggio is a lock to make the roster out of Spring Training, he just won't be getting time at third base. Fortunately for everyone involved, he's lined up at first base and right field in spring and has looked sharp at both positions, so he will surely be able to find playing time elsewhere once the regular season comes around.
No. 5: Otto Lopez
Lopez is right on the cusp of being a part of the big league roster on a more permanent basis. He has looked sharp across all levels in recent years, now he needs the opportunity to showcase his talent in the majors.
The 24-year-old is a middle infielder by trade who can play all three outfield spots as well. He doesn't have much power but he's lightning fast on the bases and has excellent range on defense.
Because of this above-average range, he profiles better as a shortstop/center fielder. He has not made a single appearance at third base since 2018 which is why he finds himself so low on the organizational totem pole.
No. 6: Orelvis Martinez
Martinez only finds himself this low on the list because of his age and lack of experience in the upper levels of the minors. The 21-year-old spent the entirety of last season in Double-A New Hampshire, showing both encouraging and discouraging signs along the way.
His power was on display virtually all season, as he hit 30 home runs and drove in 76 along the way. However, his OBP and OPS both dropped dramatically and his batting average went from .261 in 2021 all the way down to .203, above the Mendoza Line by a hair.
Martinez is a shortstop/third base hybrid who can play either position well. Long term he looks more like a second baseman or first baseman but he should be able to stick around at SS/3B for a bit longer in the minors.
The 2023 season is an important one for him as it will allow the Jays' front office to determine if he's going to end up being the real deal or not.