Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Danny Jansen

Jan 31, 2023 - 4:54 PM
Wild Card Series - Seattle Mariners v <a href=Toronto Blue Jays - Game Two" src="" />
Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Danny Jansen turns 28 in mid-April. He’s five seasons into his MLB career and coming off his best season (minus a couple of stints on the IL).

Playing in 72 games, he had 15 home runs and a .260/.339/.516 batting line, finally showing the bat we expected when he came up in 2018. His 2.9 bWAR is a career-high. And that’s in a season that he missed time with an oblique injury and then more time with a broken finger.

I’m sure that every time I’ve written about Jansen, I’ve mentioned he came up as a bat-first catcher and turned out to be an excellent defensive catcher whose bat didn’t live up to our hopes. This year his bat caught up to the glove. Hitting 15 home runs in less than half a season’s at-bats was a surprise.

Defensively? Well, his framing stats weren’t great this year. His ‘catcher framing runs’ was a -1. He threw out 27% of base stealers, slightly better than the league average of 25%. He allowed just 1 passed ball and 9 wild pitches (the fewest among MLB pitchers with 500 or more innings). Alejandro Kirk allowed 1 passed ball and 12 wild pitches (second fewest among catchers with more than 500 innings caught).

We knew the Jays were likely to trade a catcher this winter. I had hoped we’d keep the younger two but knew that it would likely be either Kirk or Moreno since they have more trade value. With only two more years before Jansen can test free agency, teams would rather have Moreno. But, with the Jays in win-now mode, maybe keeping the veteran is a good move.

Danny has been our best homegrown catcher success since Pat Borders. Borders was a Jay for 8 seasons, playing 747 games and had a 4.4 bWAR for us. Jansen has been a Jay for four seasons, playing 323 games and has a 6.5 total bWAR (2.9 of that came last year), putting him in a tie for 50th in Jays franchise history. The only catchers above him on the list are Ernie Whitt (19.5 bWAR), Gregg Zaun (10.8) and Russell Martin (8.3). Kirk is at a 5.1 career bWAR.

Steamer has Danny playing 109 games, hitting .238/.316/.455 with 21 home runs.

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