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Blue Jays: What To Expect From Danny Jansen In 2019

Brendan Panikkar
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Danny Jansen #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a two run home run in the second inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 17, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Danny Jansen #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a two run home run in the second inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 17, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays every day catcher in 2019 will be Danny Jansen, who should be a legitimate contributor to the big league club.

The Toronto Blue Jays’ regular season opener is just days away. It’s an exciting time for baseball fans as the anticipation for Opening Day is almost at it’s peak ahead of Thursday’s 3:37pm first pitch. Fangraphs has had projections out on major leaguers for a while now.

Now that Danny Jansen appears to have cemented himself as the every day catcher, let’s take a look at his projections and try to determine what we can expect from him in 2019.

ZiPS: 111 G, 438 PA, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 9.1 BB%, 17.1 K%, .243/.332/.385, 99 wRC+, 2.0 fWAR

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The Blue Jays starting catcher on Opening Day, Danny Jansen will get hist first full season of big league baseball under his belt. The projections for games, plate appearances, BB%, and K% all seem pretty reasonable despite consistently showing the last few years he can walk about as much as striking out. With the Bisons, Jansen walked 12.2% of the time with a K% of 13.6%. Pretty impressive over 360 plate appearances.

The .243 batting average seems low considering the fact that Jansen posted a .275 BA with Buffalo in 2018 and .291 through 210 plate appearances in 2017 with New Hampshire. Jansen barreled the ball 9.2% of the time over the 355 pitches he saw. His hard hit percentage was at 27.7%. Again, all in small sample sizes, but it is nice to see he made some hard contact consistently. That will help the batting average which in turn will help the OBP.

Jansen hit three home runs in 31 games, which is about a pace of 12-15 home runs in a full season. Jansen showed that, with a .185 ISO a season ago and .198 in Buffalo before his call up, he has pop in his swing. That will help his slugging and wRC+ as well. I think he goes over on his wRC+, home run, and RBI projections that ZiPS has for him in 2019.

Defensively, Jansen has shown he can be alright behind the plate at receiving pitches, but his arm didn’t open up eyes through his 31 games a season ago. One thing that was worked on in the spring was his throwing behind the plate. Manager Charlie Montoyo and John Schneider, Jansen’s manager in New Hampshire and current Major League Coach (yes, that’s his title) had Jansen practicing snap throws behind the plate a ton.

Despite his defense needing some work, Jansen still managed to post a dWAR (defense) of 3.3. He’s projected by ZiPS to be at 6.0 in 2019. For comparisons sake, Luke Maile had a dWAR of 14.6. If Jansen can post at least a 6.0 dWAR combined with a much better bat than Maile, Jansen should be able to post better than his projected 2.0 fWAR by ZiPS.

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There is a lot on Danny Jansen’s shoulders in 2019 handling the every day catchers role but he showed he can hit in his small sample size. With some improvements behind the plate as the season goes along, I think we can count on Danny Jansen cementing himself as the long term catcher for the next core. There’s not a whole lot over his cup of coffee in the bigs and the last few years in the minors to suggest Jansen can’t be a legitimate contributor in 2019.

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