The Blue Jays have two intriguing first-time All-Star candidates on the roster

Evan Gignac
Feb 21, 2023; Dunedin, FL, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) participates in spring
Feb 21, 2023; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) participates in spring / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2023 regular season around the corner, the majority of the roster is set. This is one of the more talented Blue Jays roster we’ve seen in recent memory, and with talent comes recognition, which is why to many of these Blue Jays have gotten to experience the All-Star Game at least once. However, there’s a couple guys who should be big contributors to this roster who’ve yet to receive an invitation to the Mid-Summer Classic.

The first of which is one of the longer tenured Jays, Danny Jansen. Jano has quietly become a top catcher in the league, making MLB Network’s Top Ten Catchers list, as well as having very favorable projections. Fangraphs projects a 117 wRC+ and a 2.8 fWAR from Jansen in 2023.

Blue Jays fans have adored Jansen for a while, for a multitude of reasons. The manner in which he carries himself, his long Jays tenure compared to the rest of the roster, and of course his style of play, all show why he is a force to be reckoned with. If he is able to avoid the fluke injuries that plagued him last season and meets his impressive but reasonable projections, an All-Star nod could be headed his way. The starting spot might be a bit of a reach, but look for Jano to be a reserve in Seattle this summer. 

Jansen will be splitting time with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate in 2023, and will likely be seen a lot throughout Spring Training as he gets to know the new pitchers, particularly Chris Bassitt. The ongoing absence of Kirk from camp is a noteworthy point as well, as it may give Jansen more game time through March with his conditioning being ahead of his counterpart.

The second first time All-Star to be on the lookout for is newcomer Daulton Varsho. Varsho’s floor is an effective all around player, who’ll excel on defense and hit at least 20 home runs. However, his Frangraphs projections offer some encouragement that we’ll see more than that. A forecasted 3.7 fWAR to go with a 123 wRC+ with 30 (!) homers is quite the projection, and at the very least worthy numbers to be a reserve at the All-Star Game.

Brought in to provide defense, athleticism and versatility to a team that needed a shake up, Varsho will have lofty expectations after replacing a fan favorite in the outfield. The former Diamondbacks prospect has the talent and skill set to meet these projections, and in turn make his first All-Star Game. This would most likely in a reserve role, as the American League always has a stacked outfield pool to choose from.

Varsho will receive the majority of starts in left field, and may be platooned to accommodate his documented struggles against left-handed pitching. He's also able to make a few starts behind the plate, in addition to spelling Kiermaier in center field from time to time.

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