Blue Jays: Catcher Rob Brantly impressing early in Spring Training

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

After trading Gabriel Moreno this past offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays had to look for extra catching depth as insurance behind their standout duo of Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen.

Enter Rob Brantly.

Signed to a minor league deal, the 33-year-old journeyman immediately jumped to the top of the minor league catching depth chart. With 13 years in professional baseball and parts of eight seasons in the majors, he's the perfect option for the Blue Jays to stash in Triple-A.

With his performance so far this spring, Brantly has shown himself to be more than just another depth piece. In 10 games, he's slashing .478/.520/.739 with four doubles, a triple and three runs driven in.

While he was already having a strong Grapefruit League showing, his most recent outings have turned some heads and made more fans take notice.

Brantly got the start at DH against the Yankees on Tuesday night, a team he most recently spent two seasons with. He went 2-for-3 with a single and a double, both hard-hit balls, off of Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

That performance came on the heels of an impressive 3-for-3 game a day prior. Facing the Red Sox, he subbed in for Kirk and proceeded to collect a double and two singles, one of which came off the bat at 103.1 mph.

Brantly building relationships with Blue Jays pitchers

On top of his impressive hitting, the veteran catcher has spent a lot of time building relationships and developing a rapport with the team's pitching staff. With Kirk arriving late to camp due to the birth of his child, Brantly was pressed into service early on, catching more side sessions and live BP than he probably would have seen under normal circumstances.

The former third-round pick has also been a calming influence and experienced in-game coach for young pitchers like Ricky Tiedemann. During the top prospect's second outing, in which he faced some adversity, Brantly was able to impart some wisdom to the 20-year-old.

Per Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling, Brantly told Tiedemann to "continue trusting his fastball and stay aggressive." Tiedemann listened to his veteran battery mate and quickly retired the side three up and three down the following inning.

While there are still a couple of weeks of Spring Training left before the real games begin, between his impressive bat and relationship with the pitching staff, Brantly is already proving to be a valuable third catcher for the Blue Jays this season.

Next. Otto Lopez emerging as World Baseball Classic star. dark