Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Top Prospects: #7 Danny Jansen

DUNEDIN, FL- MARCH 04: Darwin Barney
DUNEDIN, FL- MARCH 04: Darwin Barney /

After a season with his foot on the gas pedal Danny Jansen shot up the ranks in the Toronto Blue Jays Organization. The former 16th round pick raked at three separate levels this past season and has put himself on the radar of the big league front office for the 2018 season.

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Danny Jansen with the 475th overall pick in the 2013 draft. This is the same draft in which Mark Appel was famously picked over Kris Bryant to start off the draft. Jansen was selected out of Appleton West High School in Wisconsin and jumped right into the Gulf Coast League. He played in 36 games and batted .246. A slow start for the talented catcher but showed a good approach at the plate as he walked 21 times vs 10 strikeouts. This approach to hitting would become the solid foundation of what was to come.

Name: Danny Jansen
Position: Catcher        Age: 22
Height: 6’2”    Age: 225 lbs.
Throws: Right            Bats: Right
Acquired: 16th round draft pick 2013

Jansen had a few seasons where he struggled to stay healthy for the season. He was invited to Big League Camp in 2016 and something clicked. Almost seemed like he had to have a taste of the big leagues and his talents and drive took over. He was able to get into the majority of the season with the Dunedin Blue Jays in Single A. He had a decent showing and had a stretch where he showed he could play solid behind the dish. He also showed that he can call a good game and worked well with his pitching staff.

On to the Arizona Fall League after the close of the 2016 season. He finally found his comfort zone and was able to relax. He settled into a cool .282 batting average in his 20 games in the AFL. He did not show off a ton of pop but showed an ability to put the ball in play consistently. He collected twenty hits which included three doubles and he also drove in eleven runs.

Regardless of all the progress he had just made in the AFL, it was found that a key ingredient was hindering his game. His ability to see the ball was not as sharp as it could have been. A trip to the doctors and a brand new pair of specs morphed Danny Jansen into a hitting machine for the 2017 season. It’s amazing how much some vision clarity can really clear things up and allow your natural talents to take over.

Even after the great showing in the AFL the Jays System decided to start him off in Single A+ with the D-Jay’s. For the first 31 games of the season, Jansen absolutely destroyed the Florida State League pitchers to the tune of a .369 batting average. This was an obscene jump from his previous numbers in the Minor Leagues which topped out at .282 in 2014. Jansen was even showing off some power as he slugged five homers and six doubles. Plus he was super productive with 19 runs scored and 18 RBI with a .369 / .422 / .541 triple slash.

This was an all-new player that showed up for the 2017 campaign. The Blue Jays management rewarded Jansen with a new challenge as the promoted him to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to take a crack at Double-A pitchers. Jansen sunk his teeth right into the new opportunity and played 52 games with the Cats. He dove right in and became a big contributor in the offense. He would finish the audition with a .291 batting average and continued to refine his approach. Making consistent solid contact he would go on to mash 15 doubles and a pair of homers. All this while driving in 20 runs and scoring 23 of his own.

In need of a new challenge, Jansen was given a chance to finish the season in Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons. He did not skip a beat and the now 22-year-old catcher batted .328 in his 21 games with the Herd. Jansen’s hit parade blossomed into a nice powerful outburst to end the season. He hit three home runs, four doubles, and a triple in his few games in Triple A. All this while driving in ten runs and scoring eight. This ended his three-level ascension through the Blue Jays Minor Leagues with an exclamation point. He slashed .323 / .400 / .484 in 104 total games for the 2017 season with a career-high 10 homers.

Jansen owns a pretty swing in which he can generate some sneaky pop. In the below video you will see him show off some thunder as he hits two homers and is just a double short of the cycle during the game. He has a nice leg kick. It is not too pronounced like a Joey-Bats kick but gives Jansen a great way to load up his weight on his back leg. He then throws the leg forward and drops the bat head into the zone. He is quick to the ball and drives well through the ball. This gives him some solid power that showed this past season.

The man rocking the new spectacles is on the Toronto Blue Jays 40 man roster and will be pushing for a spot on the roster this Spring. The lack of a backup catcher in Toronto is going to open up a big competition in Dunedin this Spring. This could give Jansen a good shot following such an explosive season. He will need to get consistent at-bats to make a promotion worthwhile. An apprenticeship with

Russell Martin

could be very beneficial however and give Martin some days to play DH while Jansen catches. This could be a symbiotic relationship that could help both players.

Where ever Jansen starts this season he will have plenty of eyes watching. If he has a solid Spring he could be just what the Blue Jays needs behind Martin. If not he will start the season in Buffalo where he will look to pick up where he left off. If he continues to wreck pitchers in Triple-A he could be on the quick bus ride between Buffalo and Toronto soon.

Next: Would Bautista entertain a MiLB offer?

Top-30 Blue Jays Prospect Rankings:
#30: OF Jonathan Davis    #29: OF Harold Ramirez    #28: OF Joshua Palacios 

#27: 1B/OF Ryan Noda    #26: SS Kevin Smith    #25: OF Roemon Fields                

#24: P Angel Perdomo    #23: C Reese McGuire     #22: OF Dwight Smith Jr. 

#21: P Jordan Romano    #20: P Jon Harris    #19: P Tim Mayza

#18: C Riley Adams    #17: P Thomas Pannone    #16: P Justin Maese

#15: C Hagen Danner   #14: C Max Pentecost    #13: 1B Rowdy Tellez

#12: P Eric Pardinho    #11: SS Richard Urena    #10: P Ryan Borucki

#9: P Sean Reid-Foley    #8: P T.J. Zeuch