Next up in our 2023 season preview series is right-handed pitcher Hagen Danner.
Here's a look at the projection systems we will be taking into account for this:
Danner, 24, is an up-and-coming relief pitcher in the Blue Jays system and is starting to warrant quite a bit of hype surrounding his name. A stathat everyone may not know, is the fact that he was drafted as a catcher/first baseman.
STEAMER: 14 G, 1-1 record, 4.53 ERA, 12 SO and 6 BB in 14 innings
ZiPS: 24 G, 1-2 record, 5.05 ERA, 28 SO and 17 BB in 36 innings
The projections both have Danner making his major league debut in the upcoming season which in itself will be an incredible accomplishment for him. As of right now, he sits at No. 17 in the Blue Jays' system per MLB's 2022 rankings (which will be updated next Thursday, January 19th!).
After being drafted as a light-hitting catcher, Danner has said that he knew it was time for a change. Coming off of a three-year stretch in which he hit a combined .191 in the minors, he threw a random bullpen session with his agent and close friend Nick Pratto of the Royals and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since his conversion to the mound, Danner has made a combined 29 appearances over the past two years. He is 2-1 with an impressive 2.29 ERA over 39.1 innings, striking out 43 batters and walking just 15. Notable, he has allowed just two home runs in that span as well.
Danner represents another flamethrowing arm in the Blue Jays minor league system that could end up playing a role on the big league squad as early as this season. His repertoire primarily consists of a fourseam fastball and slider that he uses as a one-two punch, paired with a heavy 12-6 curveball.
The fastball sits in the 97-99mph range and can easily touch 100. The slider, affectionately named "the slutter" by Danner himself due to it's mixture of a cutter and slider, has sharp bite while the sweeping curveball is his main pitch to throw hitters off balance from the speed of the other two offerings.
Danner is an intriguing name to watch this year. With his recent performance, I see no reason why he couldn't make it to The Show at some point in 2023.