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  • Writer's pictureLouis Paillier

The Importance of Danny Jansen to the 2024 Blue Jays

Updated: Feb 16

In 2023, Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen once again proved not only to be an effective defensive backstop but a strong offensive contributor as well. Mostly known for his defence and game-calling, the Illinois native reiterated to fans that his offensive game was of high quality.

The evolution of Danny Jansen

This, however, was not always the case. While his first short stint in the big leagues was successful, in 2019 and 2020 he failed to adapt to MLB pitching throughout a full season. Jansen's offensive game in those two seasons was subpar, posting a WRC+ of 69 and 84 respectively. As he adjusted to a higher level, Danny finally found his offensive touch in 2021 and hasn’t looked back since. In the past three seasons, the catcher has posted an OPS over 770, solidifying himself as a great offensive catcher with strong defensive capabilities.

Injury Trouble

Injury trouble has been a recurring theme in the vet's seasons. Since playing his first game in Toronto in 2018, Jansen has only managed to appear in 90 games once, which was in 2019. It’s safe to say the 28-year-old has run into some bad luck in the past few years. Notably, last season, Danny hit the IL five times, with four of those times being arm or hand-related injuries. At a point, it felt as if he was getting hit by a pitch every single game.

Photo via Richard Lautens (Getty Images)

Jansen’s impact on the Blue Jays’ lineup

Last season, as a team, the Blue Jays hit the 16th most home runs in the league, a significant decline from 2022, where they placed 7th. Jansen’s power, however, did not fall off one bit. The catcher had the best isolated power (ISO) of all Blue Jays hitters with at least 300 plate appearances last season. ISO, or isolated power is a sabermetric used to measure a player’s raw power. Finishing above notable power hitters such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Matt Chapman and Daulton Varsho, the veteran has yet again proved to be a legitimate slugger, putting the bat on the barrel very effectively. Since the Blue Jays’ third-string catcher is Brian Serven, who hit .199 for the Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA) last year, Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk staying healthy will be crucial to the team’s success. It’s worth mentioning that Daulton Varsho and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who the Jays brought on a 2-year deal this winter, have previous experience at the catching position. However, Varsho was the best defensive outfielder last season, and Kiner-Falefa has made a living being steady defensively all around the field. Regardless, it would be surprising to see one of them play a game behind the dish over Brian Serven. Set to be a free agent after the 2024 season, Danny will be as motivated as ever to stay healthy and produce for the team, something that when healthy, he has succeeded in doing for the Blue Jays. Last year, he hit the 7th most home runs on the team (17) in only 86 games. For comparison, Matt Chapman also hit 17 home runs, albeit in 140 games. That, along with his notable game-calling are two of the many reasons his importance to the 2024 Blue Jays is indubitable.

All stats were taken from Fangraphs

Cover photo by Mark Blinch (Getty Images)

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