Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Season Preview: 1B/OF Spencer Horwitz
Next up in our 2023 Toronto Blue Jays season preview series is up-and-coming first baseman/outfielder Spencer Horwitz.
Addison Barger, Anthony Bass, Chris Bassitt, Brandon Belt, José Berríos, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Matt Chapman, Adam Cimber, Hagen Danner, Santiago Espinal, Matt Gage, Yimi García, Kevin Gausman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Thomas Hatch
Here's a quick refresher on the projection systems we are going to be taking into account as well as what they're saying about Horwitz for the upcoming campaign.
STEAMER: 3 H, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .244/.333/.396, 111 wRC+
ZiPS: 102 H, 10 HR, 60 RBI, .242/.322/.380, 95 OPS+
THE BAT: 13 H, 1 HR, 6 RBI, .235/.310/.349, 90 wRC+
2022 stats (Double-A and Triple-A): 111 H, 12 HR, 51 RBI, .275/.391/.452, 154 wRC+ (AA), 101 (AAA)
Editor's note: ZiPS projections include minor and major league innings but the performance estimates are all major-league level. Steamer and THE BAT project only major league innings.
Horwitz, 25, seemed to have the inside track to the backup first baseman/corner outfield spot before the Blue Jays signed Brandon Belt. With Belt in tow, Horwitz seems to be Triple-A-bound and should be the first to receive a call when an injury inevitably comes up.
While he has never been rated as one of the top prospects in the Jays' system, Horwitz has quietly gone about his business and been an excellent contributor at each stop in his minor league career.
A 24th-round draft pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Horwitz has had a steady rise through the farm system and spent last year at Double-A and Triple-A. He continued to have an increase in power and even hit 33 doubles in 114 games.
Horwitz is far from a home run-or-bust type of hitter, though, as he also has astounding patience at the plate and is even said to be a smart baserunner who chooses his stolen base opportunities wisely (he had seven last year). In 2021, he drew more walks (70) than strikeouts (68) while hitting for an impressive .294 batting average.
On defense, Horwitz calls first base his position by trade, but he has also taken up some outfield and even some second base. This increased versatility will help him make his way to the big leagues faster as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. firmly has first base locked down. In three full minor league seasons, Horwitz has just eight errors at first base in over 1,500 innings and has made just two errors in left in over 360 innings.
His ability to play multiple positions and his increasing power numbers will put him at the top of the list should an injury pop up in the upcoming campaign and - as we have seen in the past - they always do. Even if Horwitz can't find a spot in the big leagues for Toronto, he makes for an intriguing trade chip if a need arises elsewhere on the roster.