Batting above .300 over two minor league levels, Danny Jansen is making a case for the title of Blue Jays Catcher of the Future
It seems that every year a prospect performance pushes his status from fringe prospect to top prospect. It appears as though Danny Jansen is the one this year
Heading into the season the top catching prospect in the Blue Jays system would be considered a toss up. On one hand, the Blue Jays had a very, very good defensive catcher in Reese McGuire. On the other hand, the Blue Jays had a very good hitter with injury issues in Max Pentecost. However, the future of Pentecost behind the plate was up in the air exposing a weakness of the Blue Jays system.
Fast forward two months.
Reese McGuire likely lost to the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats for most of the season, possibly the rest of 2017, with a torn meniscus. The Blue Jays continue to handle the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays Max Pentecost with kid gloves, splitting his time between catcher, 1st base, and designated hitter, with most of his time as a DH.
With Pentecost proving to be an advanced hitter and getting reps in behind the plate, it would be easy to label Max Pentecost as the Blue Jays catcher of the future.
Not so fast.
Another Blue Jays catching prospect loaded with potential but derailed due to injuries is making a case for the label of top Blue Jays catching prospect.
Since being chosen by the Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2013 Draft, Jansen has appeared on many top prospect lists. Baseball America listed Jansen as the Blue Jays 20th ranked prospect in 2014, 22nd ranked prospect in 2015 and 2016.
In 2016 BA had this to say about Danny Jansen:
For the second straight year, an injury to his left hand cost Jansen significant playing time. In 2015 his left hand was hit by a bat during a swing, breaking a bone and costing him three months. In 2016, he missed two months after breaking the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand while swinging the bat. This time, Jansen returned early enough to get some second-half reps and to play in the Arizona Fall League, where he played his way onto the 40-man roster. His injuries robbed him of some power, but he still has good strength and average power when healthy. He makes contact and isn’t afraid to work a count. Defensively, Jansen needs development time to work on his game-calling and pitch-framing, but is adept at blocking balls in the dirt and is a sound receiver. He has a quick transfer with fringe-average arm strength. With Reese McGuire now in the system, Jansen must stay healthy and put together a solid 2017 season at Double-A to remain part of the Blue Jays’ plans.
With a healthy wrist and new glasses, Danny got off to a great start in April with the Dunedin Blue Jays. After 31 games of punishing Florida State League pitching, Jansen received a promotion to be the Fisher Cats everyday catcher.
Jansen is 10 games into his Double-A career and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
What does the future have in store behind the plate for the Toronto Blue Jays?
Russell Martin is signed through 2019. Luke Maile has done a good job backing Martin up and is making league minimum this year and under team control next year, with 3 arb years to follow. Mike Ohlman is on a one year contract and is considered a lottery pick. McGuire’s advanced work behind the plate and slow to develop bat is looking a lot like a fringe everyday catcher.
This brings me to Pentecost and Jansen. Jansen, in Double-A, appears to have a leg up on Pentecost in grabbing the title of Blue Jays Catcher of the Future.
*Featured Image Mandatory Credit: Kris Robinson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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