Jays From the Couch No. 4 Prospect has the looks of a veteran already
It’s that time of year again! We’re counting down our Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects for 2019. We’ve selected our Top 20 and will be profiling each one. You are bound to find many of these lists in your travels, which makes for great conversation. The basis for rankings varies even more than the number of lists you’ll find. Some prefer to look at how close to “big league ready” a prospect is, while others look at “stuff” or “tools”. To construct our list, we have scoured over scouting reports, numbers and a lot more to finalize our 20179 Top Prospects list. Feel free to weigh in on each selection in the comment section! It’s part of the fun!
At first, I argued against Danny Jansen‘s name on the list. After some convincing from the other staff members here on The Couch and giving in to the “rookie season requirements” nonsense, I gave in, but made sure my name was the one next to Danny Jansen‘s on this list. As an ex-catcher myself, I identify deeply with those that wear the tools of ignorance on a daily basis, they’re the epicenter of every game I watch, and there’s no baseball topic I enjoy more than anything related to the receivers. That being said, let’s get in to our No. 4 prospect, Danny Jansen.
Jansen is a native of Appleton, Wisconsin, home of the Wisonsin Timber Rattlers, currently a farm club for the Milwaukee Brewers. The 23-year old was drafted in 2013 (while injured, but playing) in the 16th round out of high school, and made his debut that summer in the Gulf Coast League. Jansen progressed at a steady pace through the minors, but overall his offensive numbers were underwhelming. Prior to 2017 he never hit more than five HR in a season, and in 2016 he nearly flat-lined, slashing .218/.316/.269(!) at High-A. Something wasn’t right, and something needed to change.
So Jansen put on a pair of glasses.
Behind those recreations specs, Jansen broke out in 2017 across three levels (High-A to Triple-A). He smashed a .323/.400/.484 line, and shot up the Blue Jays’ prospect rankings after the season, despite the influx of new talent from outside organizations as a result of some rebuilding trades. The system was no longer just Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette and Anthony Alford – Jansen was there to tie the whole room together from behind the plate.
The year 2018 was even better for Jansen, and by August he was a Toronto Blue Jay, along with other rising stars like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Richard Urena and battery mates Sean Reid-Foley, Thomas Pannone and Ryan Borucki. His debut was a historic one, catching Reid-Foley in the first pitcher-catcher debut since 1967. His call-up was a changing of the guard for Toronto, pushing Russell Martin to the bench, and sharing time with glove-first catcher Reese McGuire in the waning summer.
Jansen in 2019
Again, it’s hard for me to see Jansen as a true prospect after his 31-game debut and having watched him play so many games in Double- and Triple-A over the last two seasons. Jansen played above his age in the upper minors, with the look of a grizzled veteran from an advanced approach behind the plate, coupled with an impressive rapport with his pitchers (which, in many cases of recent Bisons – were not MLB-quality arms.) As a catcher, his greatest deficiency is his throwing arm (50/50 via Fangraphs), which won’t be helped out by the Blue Jays’ pitching staff. He has little other defensive liabilities, though, and his future value in the MLB will be tied to the catching position.
While Jansen hit 15 HR in 2018, it’s not likely that his power will progress much. He will, however, get on base at a good rate (projected in the .335-340 range), manage a solid K:BB, and provide very solid defense behind the plate. He’s not a Top-5 catcher for your rotisserie league, but Blue Jays fans will be glad to have him on their side for the next handful of seasons.
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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.