What can we expect from Danny Jansen in his first full big league season?
Aside from Guerrero, Danny Jansen may be the most pivotal player in determining the success of this team in the coming years. He was impressive in his brief stint with the Jays in 2018, triple slashing .247/.347/.432 with three home runs in 95 plate appearances.
Jansen appears to be the frontrunner to receive the majority of the starts at catcher, with only Luke Maile and Reese McGuire behind him on the depth chart. The Jays will give him every opportunity to succeed in an attempt to fill arguably the game’s most important position for the foreseeable future.
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Fangraphs Depth Charts projects Jansen for 2.7 WAR in 2019, the highest of any Blue Jay not named Guerrero.
One thing Jansen does extremely well is get on base. He reached base in 40% of his plate appearances across three minor league levels in 2017; that number dropped slightly to 38% in 2018 between Buffalo and Toronto. Depth Charts projects his on base percentage to be .335 along with 14 home runs in 448 plate appearances.
Given the fact that Jansen always reached base at a high rate in the minors and had success doing so in the majors last year, it’s easy to imagine him surpassing that mark if he’s playing well. He could hit a few more home runs as well if given the at-bats.
The major question is how much will Charlie Montoyo rely on Jansen in his rookie campaign. There is no sense running the young catcher into the ground if they aren’t in the playoff hunt, especially with Maile proving he is at least a serviceable major league backup. Jansen won’t be competing for the rookie of the year award, but expect him to play in anywhere from 100-110 games, and if he truly is the Jays second best player this season, his 2019 should be viewed as a major success.