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Blue Jays Expected to Get an Offensive Boost from the Minors

Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reported that first baseman Spencer Horwitz is expected to be in Oakland, where the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Athletics on Friday. Horwitz has been on a tear for Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .355/.456/.514 over his last six games. He has 12 hits in 21 at-bats, including five doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. A first-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2019, Horwitz is among the offensive leaders in the International League in a number of categories.

Blue Jays Call Up Spencer Horwitz Ahead of Road Trip

The Blue Jays worked with Horwitz during spring training to access a little more power. He has a modest four home runs this year, but it hasn’t interfered with him being productive.

“He always gets himself good pitches to hit, and has a good approach. He’s always hit and you don’t want to take something away from him,” offensive coordinator Don Mattingly said Wednesday. “But you do want to unlock the pull side. That was the main thing we tried to work on and sometimes that’s tough.”

Mattingly and assistant hitting coach Matt Hague were comparing notes on Horwitz’s progress on Wednesday. Both coaches saw more progress.

“He’s doing this thing,” Mattingly said. “He’s been swinging the bat real good.”

Mixing Horwitz at Second Base

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Justin Turner and Daniel Vogelbach count first base as their primary position. That led to the Blue Jays mixing Horwitz at second in May and he’s started there in six of his last nine games. Horwitz has 11 games at second under his belt, making one error, while also starting three games in left field and 31 at first. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith points out that Toronto could use him as a second base option at the big league level. The Blue Jays are doing what they can to him into the lineup more often.

That extra versatility will give John Schnieder more ways to creatively make his lineup. The looming promotion of Horwitz will have the Blue Jays take one player from the roster and there’s plenty of underperforming options. Vogelbach is mostly in designated hitter duties against right-handed pitching and managing a .202/.282/.328 slash on the season. Though Kevin Kiermaier remains an elite outfield defender, he’s only hitting .202/.254/.303. Cavan Biggio‘s .200/.323/.293 marks his fourth consecutive year of mediocre results.

Main Photo: © Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports


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