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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Ernie Clement

Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Since we lack news, other than Yariel Rodriguez hasn’t taken a physical yet because he doesn’t have a work visa to get to Canada or the US yet.

Ernie Clement is a 27-year-old (turns 28 in March), right-handed hitting infielder. He was a fourth-round draft pick in 2017 by Cleveland.

He made it to the majors in 2021, playing in 40 games. He played another 60 for Cleveland in 2022 and was traded to Oakland, where he played 6 more games. He hit .204/.261/.264 in the two seasons with 3 home runs.

Not all that surprisingly, the A’s released him.

More surprisingly to me, the Jays signed him as a free agent just before last season. I felt we had enough middle infielder types. I didn’t see why we would want him when we had Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger, Leo Jimenez, and others who I thought could work as a guy to be called up if there was an injury.

Ernie started the season in Buffalo, was called to the majors on May 23rd, and optioned out on June 6th. He was up again on June 13th and down on July 10th. He was up again on August 4th, just for a game. He was up again on August 28th and down on September 20th for the last time. Such is the life of a AAAA player.

When he was up and got a rare at-bat, he did well. In 52 PA he hit .380/.385/.500 for the Jays. He hit well in Buffalo, too, .348/.401/.544 in 72 games. He never hit that well in the minors before that. Maybe the Buffalo hitting coach helped him out, or maybe he was old for the level.

Clement (I keep wanting to put an s at the end of his name) is a contact hitter. With the Jays, he struck out just 7.7% of the time and walked just 1.9%. He has a 13.5% strikeout rate and a 5.2% walk rate in his career.

Defensively, he was fine at short (he played 100 innings with a 1 UZR/150. Outs above average had him at a +2, which is great for just 100 innings played. He made 7 errors at short for a .958 FA (league average .972), but he seemed to get to more balls than your average SS.

Scouting reports say he has good range at short and enough arm to play the position, and he’d be good defensively at any position on the field. He’s also a good baserunner but not a base-stealing threat.

If he has an MLB career, it will be as a utility player (unless he continues to hit like he did last year).

I’d be ok with him in a utility role, but he’s out of options years so he won’t be going up and down a bunch.

You might remember that he pitched an inning for the Jays and threw a knuckleball (he threw five in his inning of work).

I love knuckleball, but they have disappeared from major league ball.

PECOTA figures he’ll get 92 PA, hit .261/.312/.382.

ZiPS is more optimistic, with 361 PA and a .270/.311/.390 line (ZiPS doesn’t try to figure out playing time).

Streamer says 20 PA and a .263/.314/.383 line.


How many PA will Clement get the Jays this year?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (25 votes)
  • 20%
    1 to 40
    (48 votes)
  • 24%
    41 to 70
    (57 votes)
  • 20%
    (48 votes)
  • 12%
    (30 votes)
  • 5%
    (13 votes)
  • 5%
    226 or more
    (12 votes)
233 votes total Vote Now


September 1st Ernie will be a

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Blue Jay
    (61 votes)
  • 24%
    (57 votes)
  • 48%
    With another team
    (112 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now


Who gets the most playing time with the Jays this year?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Ernie Clement
    (62 votes)
  • 32%
    Addison Barger
    (77 votes)
  • 2%
    Leo Jimenez
    (6 votes)
  • 7%
    Otto Lopez
    (18 votes)
  • 30%
    Orelvis Martinez
    (73 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now