In Alejandro Kirk, the Toronto Blue Jays have one of MLB’s better-hitting catchers. After being named the American League starting catcher in July, Kirk went on to win the Silver Slugger award at his position.
Like all catchers, Kirk doesn’t suit up behind the plate every day. That didn’t limit his at-bats too much last season, however, since he often lined up as the DH on days when he wasn’t catching. So far this season, that hasn’t been the case, as he’s only started two games as the team’s DH.
Here are three reasons why Alejandro Kirk deserves more at-bats as the Toronto Blue Jays DH going forward.
Brandon Belt’s production
Let’s face it, we’re all disappointed with Brandon Belt’s production so far this season. Even after hitting a home run and a double on April 21, Belt headed into Sunday’s game with a .174/.240/.326 slash line. He’s still seeing the majority of the at bats at DH so far this season. While his numbers hopefully won’t look that bad for too long, there isn’t a lot of optimism that the Jays will be getting the production of 2021-and-before Belt.
Age might be catching up to Belt, who turned 35 on April 20. While he is reportedly feeling better from his knee surgery that ended his 2022 season, we can’t completely ignore the fact that he’s getting older. Last year, Belt had a .213/.326/.350 slash line with the San Francisco Giants and, while he’s in a better ballpark that he was in with the Giants and won’t have to deal with the shift this season, we have to start considering the possibility that his slash line looks closer to that by the end of the season than when he was a legitimate slugger with the Giants.
Either way, Belt has a role with the Blue Jays. He’s still the number one option to give Vladimir Guerrero Jr. rest days at first base, is a veteran presence in the locker room and should at least be a decent option as a pinch hitter off the bench. It makes sense to give him opportunities to get hot while we’re early on in the season in case the Blue Jays can get a bounce-back season from Belt. If his numbers don’t start to improve significantly, however, expect Kirk to start getting more DH days than Belt on the days when he isn’t catching.