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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Danny Jansen

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

I was going to skip past Danny Jansen, since we just talked about him in the last Top 40 Prospects post, where he is #3 on our list. But, here we are....

It is nice that we finally have a home grown catcher. Well, hopefully, that home grown catcher that sticks and has a long career with the Blue Jays.

  • J.P. Arencibia was drafted by the Blue Jays but only stayed 3 years as our starting catcher (not that 3 years is something to be ashamed of, it is 3 more years than I’ve had).
  • Greg Myers was home grown, but again didn’t have a long career as our number one catcher. He had 3 Blue Jays seasons where he caught over 80 games (1990 and 1991) and in 2003 (121), when he was 37. In between Blue Jay stints he played for 6 other teams.
  • Sandy Martinez who caught 138 games over two seasons (1995-96), got into 3 the next and then did a tour of major league teams.
  • And then you have Pat Borders. Drafted in the 6th round of 1982’s draft. He played the first 7 seasons of a 17-year MLB career. He’s been our one homegrown catcher success story. At least the only one who was a success for us. Only a 4.4 bWAR as a Blue Jay, but he has two World Series rings, so that’s a success.

It has been a long dry spell since Pat.

I’m hoping Danny can top that WAR within a couple of years. But, we do have a handful of good catching prospects coming up the ladder, Danny will have competition

Anyway, let’s see what others are saying about Jansen:

Baseball America where he is number 42 on their top 100 list:

Jansen has been a high on-base threat with a sharp eye for the strike zone. He’s a disciplined hitter who recognizes pitches early, stays balanced and doesn’t chase much off the plate. He does a good job of putting himself into favorable counts and swinging at pitches he can damage with a compact swing. Jansen set a career-high with 15 home runs between Buffalo and Toronto in 2018, but he’s more of a line-drive hitter with just enough pull-side power for average home run totals. Jansen earns high praise for his leadership and ability to manage a pitching staff. He blocks balls well, but his arm is fringe-average and he could improve his footwork and release to get rid of the ball faster after throwing out just 19 percent of basestealers in 2018.

Baseball Prospective Annul where he is #89:

“Catchers are weird” is one of our favorite mantras here at Baseball Prospectus. Two offseasons ago, Jansen got prescription glasses. Suddenly able to see, he immediately jumped from a lightly-regarded potential backup catcher to one of the better catching prospects in the game. He consolidated the 2017 breakout in 2018, performing well in Triple-A before claiming the bulk of the catching time in the majors over the last six weeks in the season. He has a solid but unspectacular defensive reputation, very likely good enough to remain at catcher, which is half the battle. The other half is framing, and we’ll have to see where he lands in the majors on that. The bar is so low at catcher now that he has potential to put up big value just by being average to above-average in all phases, and unless things get notably weird again, he should do that starting in 2019.

Keith Law had him at #109:

Jansen is an offense-first catcher whose receiving and framing are relative weak spots in his game and who has had a hard time staying healthy, going back to when Jays scout Wes Penick first drafted Jansen out of a Wisconsin high school. The good news is that when Jansen plays, he hits. He’s short to the ball with a lot of strength for power that I think will play out as above average if not plus, probably 18 to 22 homers a year with a catcher’s workload, and he has posted a .396 OBP in the minors over the past two seasons.

He’s below average behind the plate, but not so much that he’ll have to move off the position, and his bat should more than mitigate whatever his defense costs the team. The bigger concern is his durability: He has never caught 100 games in any season, peaking the past two years at 98 and 85, and he has had two broken bones in his hand (one a hamate) and major knee surgery already. At some positions, this wouldn’t be such a concern, but catching can wear down a lot of players who look durable, and Jansen might not be able to handle that workload.

John Sickels, now with the Athletic, has him #46 on his top 100 prospect list.

Age 23, 16th-round pick in 2013, hit .275/.390/.473 in Triple-A, and .247/.347/.32 in 81 MLB at-bats; very strong strike zone judgment helps him get to average power; throwing needs more work, but age and offensive potential auger well for long-term outlook; ETA 2019.

And Jim Bowden, also with the Athletic, has him #59 on his top 200 prospects list.

Jansen is an offensive catcher who can hit with power. He puts the ball in play and walks almost as much as he strikes out. He’s not a very good defensive catcher at this point, but give him credit because he’s improved in almost every area and enough to be serviceable behind the plate. His bat will have to carry him and his catching will have to keep improving if he wants to be a starting catcher in the majors.

ZiPS figures him to hit .243/.332/.385 with 10 home runs and a 1.6 WAR in 111 games.

PECOTA sees him hitting .237/.333/.412 with 14 home runs in 409 PA.


If the over/under on Danny Jansen’s WAR is 1.6 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    (335 votes)
  • 21%
    (91 votes)
426 votes total Vote Now


If Jansen’s over/under is 100 games played I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    (242 votes)
  • 38%
    (153 votes)
395 votes total Vote Now