Coming into this season it seemed as if Alejandro Kirk was the number one catching option for the Blue Jays, but since coming back from the injured list, Danny Jansen has been an instrumental part of the Jays offence.
In the recent Blue Jays offensive slump, Jansen has been coming up with a number of clutch hits. His last 10 games consist of two home runs as well as five runs batted in. This type of production has been crucial for the Blue Jays while Kirk is on the injured list.
It hasn’t just been the last month that has been productive from Jansen. In the last 162 games he has 33 home runs, 99 runs batted in, and a .325 on base percentage. These stats are a great sign for the Blue Jays, but it is important to keep in mind that he does not play every day which keeps him well rested, and gives him the ability to play at a high level when needed.
A slow start from Kirk has really led to the conversation of Jansen getting more playing time. Kirk’s biggest strengths are getting on base and not striking out, but as we near the half way mark of the season, he has shown a drop off in these areas. Last year he had an on base percentage of .372 but this year he has dipped to .337. Another stat to look at is Kirk’s walk percentage. Last season he had a BB% of 11.6% but this year that has dropped to 9.9%. The smaller number of walks and lower on base percentage for Kirk combined with striking out more and hitting for less power makes Jansen a better option, especially, considering the power Jansen brings to the lineup.
Jansen and Kirk both bring different skills to the Blue Jays roster. Jansen has more power as he has 10 home runs this year compared to Kirks three, but Kirk has the ability to get on base more often with an on base percentage of .325 compared to Jansen’s .270.
At this point of the season, it is crucial that Kirk comes back to the team healthy which would allow both players to perform at a high level. Neither of them can play every game, so getting production out of both of them is crucial. When it comes down to the crucial games in the second half of the season it is important that Jansen gets the call over Kirk, specifically because of the added power he brings to the lineup.
All season the Blue Jays have struggled with power. They currently are 17th in the majors with 89 home runs, but they are 5th in batting average with a .263. The Jays don’t struggle to get on base, they struggle with scoring runs and right now Jansen is more reliable to drive in runs than Kirk is.
The best ability is availability and both of the Blue Jays catchers have struggled to stay healthy this year. Going forward they need both catchers to stay healthy because the Jays can’t be in a position of having a player like Tyler Heineman being the main man behind the plate.