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Jays Roster Moves: Manoah Down, Hagen Danner up

Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This is a surprise to me.

Alek Manoah has been optioned to Buffalo.

Hagen Danner has been recalled.

Danner has pitched in 23 games at Buffalo after being promoted from New Hampshire, with a 3.81 ERA. in 28.1 innings, he has 7 walks and 35 strikeouts. Also 8 home runs.

Danner was #19 on our prospect list before the season. Matt wrote:

Now five years into his career, Danner has already had quite the journey after being selected 61st overall in 2017 and signed well-above second round slot at $1.5-million. Evaluators were split on him as a pitcher or catcher, with the consensus probably leaning towards the former but the Jays taking him as latter. Though he showed a little pop, he struggled against low-level pitching and in a system then bursting with catching prospects and converted to the mound.

It’s often said of players converting to the mound that it either takes quickly or not at all, and Danner was very much the former. Assigned directly to high-A Vancouver in 2021, Danner was dominant from the get-to, showing not just really good pure stuff but a remarkable ability to harness it. The only thing that slowed him down was an arm injury that cost him the middle of the season.

He was an easy addition to the 40-man after the season, seemingly poised on a fast-track to the big league bullpen with a couple promising outings in spring training. But Danner struggled to find the plate in four rocky outings in April for New Hampshire, missing the rest of the season with a sprained UCL though avoiding Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, after a couple outings this spring, he’s sidelined with forearm inflammation. This is now a recurring issue injecting significant risk of fulfilling the obvious potential.

On the mound, Danner is a pure power pitcher, with mid-90s gas into the upper 90s. He pairs that with a sharp, swing-and-miss hammer slider. He’s actually got two different breaking balls, the slider in the mid-80s and a curve in the low-70s. Shape-wise, they’re very similar, just a different velocity bands. It’s two easy plus pitches, yielding legitimate high end upside of a late-inning impact reliever (role 45, ~70 ERA-).

To achieve that, beyond needing to demonstrate the ability to stay healthy, Danner has some work ironing out command. There’s plenty of middling relievers with premium stuff who get hit around due to a lack of location, and that outcome is a real risk. He’s also prone to sometimes losing the zone, with may be more a function of the inexperience. But the raw stuff is a great building block—if he can stay healthy.

I’m interested to see him pitch.

Manoah, well you’ll seen, he’s had good starts (like the one in Boston) and poor ones (like in Cleveland) since he came back from his trip to find himself (or his delivery) in the minors.

At the end of the game in Boston where both Santiago Espinal and Reese McGuire got themselves doubled off second base in the top half and the bottom half of the ninth, I had this question:

Well, I have an answer now. Jayson Stark, in the Athletic had this:

DOUBLE TROUBLE – Loyal reader Tom Dakers (@BluebirdBanter) watched the Strange But True finale of Saturday’s Blue Jays-Red Sox game and had a question. But first, you should get to see what he saw.

(he showed video clips of both players)

And the answer, from the always-inquisitive Kenny Jackelen, is: There’s not a single other game in the Baseball Reference database in which a ninth inning ended like that one.

Thanks to Al Yellon for pointing that out to me. There is always someone that can find these answers.

And Jose Baustista signed a one-day contract so he could retire as a Blue Jays player.

Travis Snider posted about Jose:

I always thought Bautista was a good guy, nice to have it confirmed.

Tonight’s lineup.

Today's Lineups

Mike Tauchman - CF Whit Merrifield - LF
Nico Hoerner - 2B Brandon Belt - DH
Ian Happ - LF Vladimir Guerrero - 1B
Cody Bellinger - 1B George Springer - RF
Dansby Swanson - SS Cavan Biggio - 2B
Christopher Morel - DH Matt Chapman - 3B
Jeimer Candelario - 3B Alejandro Kirk - C
Seiya Suzuki - RF Daulton Varsho - CF
Yan Gomes - C Paul DeJong - SS
Javier Assad - RHP Jose Berrios - RHP