When Russell Martin was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in January of 2019, it signaled the next chapter for the Toronto Blue Jays. The playoff runs of 2015 and 2016 are memories that most Blue Jays fans will never forget, but it was time to embrace the youth movement. A key factor in that youth movement was catching prospect Danny Jansen.
Before breaking into the league, fans of the Blue Jays were quite excited to see Jansen behind the plate. Despite a loaded farm system at the time, with players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Nate Pearson, and Anthony Alford, Jansen’s name was often thrown in with the club’s top prospects.
In Jansen’s first full season in 2019, the catcher slashed .207/.279/.360. Although not great numbers, he did also blast 13 home runs, which showed promising power. The next year, which was a shortened season due to Covid-19, things got worse for Jansen at the plate. The young catcher’s batting average went down to .183 and his home run count decreased to 6. Keep in mind, though, this was a shortened season.
With the Blue Jays season’s catching situation unclear next year, Jansen’s resurgence in the second half of the campaign offers some optimism at the plate.
For the first half of 2021, Jansen looked completely lost at the plate. In fact, his batting average sat below .200 for a long portion of the year. Something clicked at the plate for Jansen towards the end of the season after he returned from the injured list.
The 26-year-old catcher posted a .293 batting average, a .349 OBP, and 5 home runs over the final 30 days of the season. By the end of the campaign, Jansen had raised his batting average to .223 and he finished with 11 home runs.
With next season’s catching situation currently unclear, Jansen’s offensive resurgence in the second half of the 2021 season offers some optimism behind the plate. With Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk all fighting for playing time at the catching position next season, Jansen’s odds will be pretty good to win the No. 1 catcher spot if he performs as he did in the latter half of 2021.