The Blue Jays are flush with catching talent in their organization, and their big league duo is a major reason why they’re currently in the top Wild Card spot in the American League.
On Tuesday the Jays took another step toward securing that playoff spot with an 18-11 win over the Phillies in what turned out to be a slugfest. When you score 18 runs it generally means that the whole team was in on the fun, and that was in the case in Philadelphia to be sure. However, one thing that stood out to me was the nearly identical lines for both Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen. Each collected three hits and two RBI in the game, adding on to what has been a year of huge production from the Blue Jays catchers.
As I review the stats, the only major downside to the season is the fact that Jansen has hit the Injured List on two separate occasions, which has limited his availability. Having said that, his absence likely gave Kirk a bit of a push, especially on defence, and the young receiver has responded very well.
Combined the duo has now collected 610 at-bats, or roughly the equivalent of a full MLB season for an every day player.
Kirk– .298/.383/.434, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 429 at-bats
Jansen– .260/.333/.514, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 181 at-bats
As you likely recall, Kirk was the starting catcher for the AL All-Star this year, and deservedly so. He hasn’t quite performed to the same level that he did in the first half, but he’s still been a top tier catcher and a key contributor to the team since the All-Star break as well. As for Jansen, he’s really made an impact in his limited time, meeting Kirk’s output in the home run department despite having less than half as many at-bats, and chipping in with his solid defensive skills. That’s not to shame Kirk in any way either, but instead it just shows how much power Jansen has brought to the table.
It’s a huge luxury for the Blue Jays to have 26 home runs and 97 RBI from their catching duo, even if Kirk has spent a fair bit of time serving as the designated hitter. That’s not even counting what others have contributed, like Gabriel Moreno, and even Zack Collins early in the year.
In very simple terms, if you’re getting a .280/.350 ish line from your catching spot, while also receiving 30 home runs, 100 RBI, AND plus defence, what else could you really ask for? Oh, just a top-five prospect waiting in the wings who might even be the best of the trio?
We’ve talked about it many times here at Jays Journal, and there’s a good chance that the Blue Jays will look to make some sort of impact trade over the offseason while using a talented catcher as the centrepiece. Right now it’s hard to imagine them letting go of either Kirk or Jansen, especially with team control and reasonable salaries. It’s a good problem to have, and one that can be worried about at a later date.
For now the Blue Jays have to be more than thankful for what their catcher’s are contributing these days. Hopefully the recent hot streaks will continue for the last two weeks of the regular season, and even more so once the playoffs begin. John Schneider could use plenty of different lineup configurations if the roster is healthy once they reach the postseason, but one way or another both Kirk and Jansen will factor into the plans.