Prior to last night’s game, the Blue Jays announced that catcher Danny Jansen would be heading to the injured list after suffering a right hamstring strain in Sunday’s loss against the Astros. In a corresponding move, the Jays called up catching prospect Riley Adams, who made his Major League debut last night in Chicago.
The Jays have struggled to receive any kind of offensive production from their backstops this season, where they have combined for an ugly .185 batting average, a 72.6 OPS+ and have struck out in 24% of their at-bats.
As I mentioned in a previous article, the Jays’ catchers haven’t been exceptional defensively to make up for this lack of offensive production. Jansen alone has been average at best, posting a .994 fielding percentage, placing in the 48th framing percentile, according to Baseball Savant, and has caught a career-low 11% of base runners.
The catching position was a major question mark entering the season, and so far, nobody has stepped up and claimed the starting role. Because of this, Riley Adams has a fantastic opportunity to become this team’s everyday catcher, if he can parlay the success he has had in the minors, to the Major League level.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
Adams was terrorizing AAA pitching to start off the 2021 season prior to being called up. He posted an OPS north of 1.000, and had eight extra-base hits in just 19 games, showing off his plus power that has been his calling card at the plate throughout his college and pro career.
Catching is still a defensive first position and though Adams isn’t an elite defender, he has been serviceable behind the dish throughout his time in the minors. His greatest strength is undoubtedly his baseball IQ, as he makes smart decisions and calls a great game. Adams’ IQ was on full display last night, as he and Robbie Ray were on the same page for the entire game, which resulted in Ray having his best outing of the season where he would punch out 13 batters (one shy of his career-high).
The California native also has a strong arm and has showcased this by catching 37% of base runners throughout his minor league career. This will be a nice change for a club that has struggled to contain other teams on the base path this season.
Adams is a bigger catcher, standing at 6’4, so mobility is a bit of an issue for the San Diego product. His bigger build has led to some issues with his blocking, which could become a bigger problem at the Major League level, but overall, Adams is still considered to be a slightly above average defender despite the blocking issues.
Riley Adams has the tools to play in the big leagues, and the Jays catching position is currently wide open. If the former third-round pick can continue to have the same success he enjoyed in the minors, he has the opportunity to earn a big role with this team and fill a massive hole on the Blue Jays roster.