Danny Jansen- Credit: DaveMe Images

Blue Jays Danny Jansen Reaping Rewards of a Successful Offseason

Spring Training stats may not mean much but success in the spring can mean everything to this Blue Jays catcher

 

 

 

When the Blue Jays moved Russell Martin out of town last January, it was to make room for rookie catcher Danny Jansen. Toronto sent $16.4M to the Dodgers in the deal which netted the Blue Jays right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko and infielder Ronny Brito.

 

Statistically, the 2019 season wasn’t great for any of the players involved. The veteran catcher batted just .220 with 6HR and 20RBI in 83 games. Sopko looked good in 6 Double-A starts with the New Hampshire Fisher (2-2, 2.34ERA) which lead to a promotion to Triple-A. As a member of the Buffalo Bisons, Sopko struggled in 20 starts (1-6, 7.12ERA). Lastly, the 20-yr-old Brito spent most of the year with the short-season A-Ball Vancouver Canadians where he batted just .216 with 82K in 56 games and 4HR.

 

Even Danny Jansen, who benefited the most from the trade, struggled to find consistency at the plate in 2019. Despite being considered a bat-first catcher, Jansen looked good behind the plate. He threw out 19 base runners, allowing 42SB. Jansen allowed 4 passed balls and finished with an 8.1FRM according to Fangraphs. Danny Jansen finished with an excellent 12DRS for his efforts behind the plate.

 

Unfortunately, his 2019 stats were a little disappointing after posting a .247BA with 3HR, .185ISO, and a .340wOBA in 2018 in just 31 games.  He looked pretty good in June, July, and August, hovering around the .240 to .246 batting average range and connecting on 4HR/month. As good as he looked mid-summer, his spring and Sept/Oct numbers dragged down his overall stats.

 

Keegan Matheson (full article), Rosie DiManno (full article), and Greg Chisholm (full article) have all reported the Blue Jays budding catcher developed a new pre-game hitting routine. The routine involves tee work which helps with his timing. He also incorporated weighted balls during his cage work.

 

So far, the results are encouraging. After striking out in 20.6% of his plate appearances as a rookie, Jansen has yet to go down swinging in 8 at-bats. Last Spring, Danny was given 41 at-bats across 17 games, striking out 6 times. Danny Jansen already has more walks during the 2020 Spring Training than he had last Spring, 3BB to 2BB.

 

The 24-yr-old backstop went hitless in two at-bats in his first game of the spring. He didn’t register an at-bat in his 2nd game, walking twice while driving in his 1st spring RBI. He went 1-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI on February 25th against the Phillies.

 

On February 29th, Danny Jansen hit his 1st career Spring Training home run. He took Philadelphia’s Zach Wheeler deep for a 2-run, 2-out home run. He picked up a single in his other at-bat.

 

In his next game, March 2nd, Danny Jansen went 1-for-2 with another 2-run, 2-out home run. This one came off Pittsburgh’s 23-yr-old Mitch Keller.

 

Obviously, this is a small sample size. Yes, I know that Spring Training stats don’t mean squat. I know. Despite that, getting off to a good start in the spring can benefit Danny longterm. The confidence gained from early success can vindicate the changes he made and all the hard work he put in during the winter.

 

Expecting him to carry a .500BA and 1.455OPS throughout the remaining Grapefruit League schedule might be lofty; however, expecting him to exceed many of the offseason projections may not be as imposing now.

 

These projections have Danny playing between 77 and 108 games. All the projections feel his K% will drop from 20% down to 18.0% while his BB% remains in the 8% range. There are dissimilar projections when it comes to his ability to hit consistently. He is projected to bat between .232 and .250 with 10 to 15HR.

 

If his early success is any indications of what fans of the Blue Jays can expect in 2020, Danny Jansen should produce above his projection of a .240BA, 11HR season. This would be a welcome addition to a blossoming Toronto offense.

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn't cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I'm more right.