Blue Jays need to find room for Danny Jansen
By Craig Borden
As the Toronto Blue Jays struggle to find offense and have been cramming pieces to plug holes in the lineup, they really need to start looking to the Minor League prospects. At the moment there are not many better options than catcher Danny Jansen.
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Danny Jansen in the 16th round of the 2013 draft and have to be excited about what he could bring to the table. After a slow start to his professional career in the lower levels of the Jays system, he has really put it all together and become a force on the diamond. He really broke out in 2017 and has been rocketing toward the Majors ever since.
The smooth-hitting Jansen has only continued to impress in 2018. He currently owns an incredible slash line of .322/.430/.483 as a member of the Buffalo Bisons. He also has 11 doubles, a triple, and two home runs. This is through 35 games this season and he’s also scored 20 runs and driven in 19. The best part of all of this offense is that he has performed well behind the plate in 23 games as well. Jansen is the complete package as a player.
Now we can discuss why this is the right player for the Blue Jays to add to the MLB roster and give a real shot too. First, the Blue Jays need someone that can hit and get on base. Jansen has had a consistent batting average over .300 for nearly 160 games, dating back to his Arizona Fall League performance prior to his 2017 breakout season. He is a hitting machine with those awesome specs. The RBIs will keep coming as long as Jansen keeps cracking the ball as he has been as well. This is exactly the kind of stick the Jays need in their lineup to ignite the lower part of the order.
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Second, he is already on the 40-man roster. Yes, you heard me correctly. The Blue Jays will not have to drop someone off the 40-man roster to make room for Jansen’s lumber. The 2018 Blue Jays roster has been ever-changing so far this season, as last year’s injury bug has not been killed.
The 25-man roster is written in mud at the moment and has changed by the day. If you are looking to add some offense they should not look any further then Jansen, as he can bring that with an everyday opportunity. He deserves a chance and already is set on the roster so why not give him a chance and see what he can do with a new challenge?
With the roster ever evolving this season, we have watched Russell Martin becoming more of a super utility player as the Jays look to get him through his extensive contract. If this is the case and the athletic Martin plays more games in the field there will be a gap behind the plate.
Martin has played catcher, shortstop, 3rd base, and left field as of the moment. If he is going to transition into those other positions more to keep him healthy, someone else will need to step into the everyday catching role. No offense to Luke Maile but I think that Jansen’s ceiling has him edged out even as of this moment. Jansen could get everyday at-bats while Martin fills other holes in the lineup.
The apprenticeship with Martin is worth its weight in gold. What better way for Martin to live out the twilight years of his contract than to prepare the new guard behind the dish. Martin has been one of the best catchers of the passing generation, and Jansen is currently one of baseball’s brightest catching prospects and would benefit from any time spent with the Canadian. This could work even during this season. Martin knows the pitchers on the big league roster and could work with Jansen to get the best out of a troubled staff. This could even benefit the Jays’ pitchers by getting a fresh set of eyes on them every day.
The Blue Jays are quickly running out of time to get back into the race for this season. Danny Jansen is a very talented player that could inject some youth into this lineup. He has the potential to be a great everyday catcher and run well with the current pitching staff. He needs a chance to show what he has going for him and if Martin is going to play more in the field, what is the holdup? Jansen needs a new challenge as he continues to show he can dominate the Minor Leagues. The youth movement has a chance to save this season for the Blue Jays and the time to pull the trigger is now.