Danny Jansen has really started heating up at the plate lately, and it might be a good time to move him up in the batting order.
It’s not as if he’s been forgotten about, as that would be tough to do with him being the starting catcher of the big league club throughout the year, but his talents have been lost in the discussions behind the accomplishments of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and others.
The other reason, of course, is that he hasn’t been keeping up to his fellow young teammates in the hitting department, at least until recently. His season slash line of .197/.273/.328 is actually up after a recent outburst, as he’s collected hits in seven of the last eight games he’s played, and he’s also hit four home runs during that stretch as well. His batting average has actually moved up over 30 points during that stretch, up from .166 on June 21st.
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While he’s got a ways to go before his numbers will completely turn around, I think there’s a good argument to be made that he should be moved up in the batting order right now, even with most of his teammates rolling as well. I actually started writing this piece before the Blue Jays put him 7th in the order for Wednesday night’s game, and I’m pleased to see that Charlie Montoyo is rewarding his young catcher for his recent hot streak.
I also think there are a couple of benefits to Jansen moving up that could be very helpful. First, he could theoretically get additional protection from the hitters behind him, depending on where he’s placed. That could allow him to see more fastballs and good pitches to hit in general, which is obviously a good thing.
Secondly, I like the idea of building this team together as a unit, and that’s why I like seeing the way Montoyo has been rolling out the top of his batting order lately. Bunching together the likes of Vlad Jr., Gurriel Jr., and Biggio together gives them an added sense of camaraderie, and that will be important as foundational pieces of this rebuild. Jansen looks like he’ll be the catcher of the future in Toronto, despite his cold start to the season, and encouraging that inclusion and team-building could really pay off.
Third and the most simple, it’ll give him a few extra at-bats this season, which is exactly what he needs as he continues to develop into a full-time big leaguer. He rightfully focused on his defence to start his MLB career, and it’s not surprising that his offence suffered in the first half as a result. That said, Jansen showed the ability to be a real asset with the bat throughout his minor league career, and I have faith that he’ll do the same in time at the highest level. We’re already seeing the proof lately, and hopefully he can build on his recent successes.
It may not happen until later this month when some inevitable roster shuffling takes place before the trade deadline, but I’d like to see Jansen hitting somewhere higher than 9th in the order, just as he did on Wednesday night. It may not necessarily pay off in the immediate, but I believe it could be a very beneficial move in the long term, and that’s obviously the focus this year. Hopefully he can continue to hit the way he has recently, which will force Montoyo’s hand one way or another.