Blue Jays fans cringed in collective fashion when both Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman exited Sunday’s game due to injuries. Chapman has already been placed on the injured list with a strain in his right hand, while Bichette was out of last night’s lineup due to the quad discomfort that forced him from the prior day’s contest. While the Jays termed his exit precautionary, Bichette underwent an MRI last night, per Keegan Matheson of MLB.com. The team will presumably have an update on the star shortstop’s status today.
Toronto called up journeyman infielder Ernie Clement when Chapman hit the IL and went with him at shortstop and rookie Davis Schneider at third base in yesterday’s win over the Nationals. The 24-year-old Schneider has already popped five homers in his first 48 big league plate appearances, batting .425/.521/.875 in that tiny sample. Schneider has also fanned at a 29.2% rate and is sporting an outlandish .571 BABIP that he won’t sustain, but he’s nevertheless provided a jolt for the Toronto lineup. That arrangement could be in place a bit more regularly if Bichette misses time, although there’s room for the Jays to get creative.
One possibility that’s currently under consideration would be at least occasional time back at the hot corner for first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., it seems. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that while the Jays aren’t currently planning to start Guerrero at third base in Chapman’s absence, they’re open to using him there late in games as they make substitutions around the diamond. Guerrero has been taking grounders at the hot corner in recent days.
It’s also worth noting that the Jays will soon have two more roster spots to potentially add some depth with Chapman out at least 10 days and Bichette potentially sidelined as well. Rosters are set to expand from 26 to 28 players on Sept. 1, which could clear a path for Toronto to tap further into its minor league system for reinforcements. Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic suggests that infielders Addison Barger, Orelvis Martinez and Spencer Horwitz could all be considered for a big league call when rosters expand.
Each of Barger, Martinez and Horowitz is already on the 40-man roster. The former two could benefit the Jays with their versatility, as that pair has experience at each of shortstop, third base and second base. Horwitz has played primarily first base and left field in his professional career.
FanGraphs currently ranks Barger as the game’s No. 36 overall prospect. He’s spent time on the injured list but has turned in a .257/.371/.414 slash in 65 Triple-A games since returning, walking at a hearty 14.6% clip against a 21.1% strikeout rate. He hit .308/.378/.555 between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A last year. Martinez landed on Baseball America’s top-100 list prior to the 2021 and 2022 seasons but saw his stock tumble with a rough year in Double-A last year. The 21-year-old, has bounced back to some extent this season, posting a combined .242/.344/.496 line between Double-A and Triple-A (including a .276/.355/.517 slash at the higher of those two levels). Horwitz went 2-for-8 with a pair of walks in a brief MLB debut earlier this season and has slashed .339/.450/.499 in 476 Triple-A plate appearances, walking (15.8%) more often than he’s struck out (15.1%) in the process.