Hagen Danner was the Blue Jays’ second-round pick in 2017. He was drafted as a catcher, but he wasn’t having much luck with the bat, and in 2019 they decided to see how things worked on the mound.
Danner is a 24-year-old, right-handed pitcher. He was our second-round draft pick in 2017, drafted as a catcher, with pitcher being a fall-back position.
Last winter, he was added to our 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft that didn’t end up happening. That cost us an option year. Such is life.
If he had started his minor league career on the mound, maybe he’d be building to be a starting pitcher, but with his option years ticking off, he’s working his way up as a reliever.
As a reliever, he throws the mid-90s, peaking in the high-90s, and has a slider and a curve.
This past season, Danner went on the IL on April 27th with a shoulder injury and missed the rest of the season. However, he did pitch in 8 games in the Arizona Fall League. In 7.2 innings, he allowed 5 hits, 3 earned, 1 walk with 8 strikeouts.
Hagen was number 6 on our top 40 prospect list last year. However, matt added a note of caution:
Which isn’t to say there isn’t risk. MLB hitters have become very adept at handling even top shelf velocity and breaking balls when they’re poorly located, and Danner has some work ironing out the command. That on display in his two spring training outings. The first was excellent and he thoroughly dominated, but in the second he got hit around. He’s also prone to sometimes losing the zone. But the raw stuff is a great building block.
I think he’ll be a little further down the list this year, just on the missing last season with an injury.
But since he is on the 40-man roster, we may see him in Toronto this year. It isn’t a make-it-or-break-it year for Danner, but seeing him put in a full season would be nice. He’s only thrown 39.1 innings in the minors (though he spent three seasons as a catcher, and then one minor league season was lost to Covid), and he turns 25 at the end of the season. It would be nice to nice to actually know something about him for next year’s “Better Know”.
Where will Danner spend most of 2023?
Will Danner pitch in the majors this year?