Spencer Horwitz, 1B/LF, TOR

Spencer Horwitz was called up a couple of days ago. What does he do well? What does he need to work on?

Video courtesy of Baseball Is Everything
  • Born: November 14, 1997
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • 5’10”, 190-lbs
  • Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft from Radford University

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

When a former 24th-round pick puts up a 4-year minor league batting line of .292/.395/.445, that’s a triumph of drafting in the late rounds that no longer exist. It also seems like this should be a top hitter, but just hitting close to .300 doesn’t tell the whole story. Let’s dig in.

Horwitz was drafted in 2019 and by 2021 was in High-A. He showed great skill there as a 23-year-old (college bat), walking more than he struck out, showing some power, and great on-base ability.

In 2022 he starts at Double-A and now the power is all there, the OBP is even better, he still draws walks, and the strikeouts are higher but still in great shape.

Then he goes to Triple-A, and at this point he’s 24 and he did great at Double-A, so why not? There he finishes the season with a fading OBP and power.

So in 2023 he repeats Triple-A, and there’s one thing you can count on Spencer to do: draw walks 15% of the time or so. He also continued his excellent bat control in striking out less than 20% of the time. But the power dropped off, even as the OBP jumped back up to a career high.

So just the power is missing, right?

Monthly Splits

Actually, his OBP slid every month, and the power completely dropped out. His hard hit% is less than 27%, which is not great. So while the bat control is, was, and always should be great (talking to you, OBP league players), the lack of power is a problem I will explain later on.

Handedness K% and BB%

AAA (vs RH): 17%K and 19%BB. (vs LH): 20%K and 11%BB.

He does great as a lefty bat against RHP, and while he does just fine against LHP, it’s not as good as RHP, and all his other numbers suffer. He could be an All Star if he only faced RHP. But even then, the power is just .130.

The Scouts


The scouts don’t seem that impressed, do they? PARS tags him as organization depth. Why?:

This is a graphic from my book, and it shows the defensive spectrum in terms of value added to a club. Most of the best batting prospects are middle-infield or centerfielders. Once you drops down to the LF and 1B spectrum, there’s only DH remaining.

Where did Horwitz play this year? Yup: 1B, LF and DH. That’s the problem. When your power is suspect, but you are stuck in the lower part of the defensive spectrum, you are not adding the kind of value a club needs.

The Blue Jays have a 1B in Vlad Jr. That leaves LF or DH for Horwitz, and the Blue Jays have lots of bats they like playing at DH.


So when you have great bat control, but only average 7 or 8 HRs per year in the minor leagues, you had better get on base at a prodigious rate and steal lots of bases. But Horwitz only averages five SBs per season, so that’s not his game either.

No, he gets on base, but then needs his teammates to drive him in. When you don’t add defensive value, that’s not ideal.

If the team has a place for him to play semi-regularly, he could be someone at the end of the lineup who gets on base and then lets the top of the order drive him in. If the team doesn’t have a regular place to bat him, he will be a bench bat. A tremendous value for a 24th-round pick to make the majors, but you can now see why the scouts aren’t that impressed.