Danny Jansen Balances His Talents

DUNEDIN, Fla.—Danny Jansen figured he was positioned fairly well for the 2013 draft as he entered his senior year at Appleton West High in Wisconsin. Already several teams were in touch with the catcher and a solid season could make his stock rise.

Instead, in his third game of the season, a foul ball struck him on the wrist and broke his pisiform, a pea-shaped bone where hand meets wrist. A couple of months spent recovering ruined his season and he rushed back to play in a playoff game with a brace on his wrist, but things had changed.

“Once that happened, a lot of teams backed away,” says Jansen. That’s when I really thought about college because a lot of teams went out the window and that was really stressful for me.”

One team that remained in the frame was the Blue Jays, who used a 16th-round pick to select the native of Elmhurst, Ill.

“I’m grateful for it every single day,” he says. “I really wanted to play pro ball—college is always going to be there.”

Jansen received a signing bonus of $100,000 and he’s made fans of people all across the organization. At 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, the 21-year-old has made steady gains defensively over the past four years, playing in 54 games at high Class A Dunedin last season and earning a trip to the Arizona Fall League.

“Danny is an old throwback guy who just takes a beating and you never hear a peep out of him,” catching coordinator Ken Huckaby, Jansen’s manager at Dunedin last year, said.

One goal for Jansen in 2017 is to find a way to spend more time working on his hitting. Having made catching his top priority, he admits he hasn’t “devoted as much time to hitting as I’ve really needed to.”

“You’ve got to find a balance,” Jansen says. “Maybe if you’re not in that day, get in there early and really focus that day on hitting. Catching is always the main focus, and then find time every day and then maybe more two days a week to really bear down on hitting.”


Lefty Tim Mayza impressed during camp and while he’s expected to open the season at Double-A New Hampshire, he’s positioned to progress quickly if he can continue his 2016 success.

After not winning a job with the Blue Jays, Mat Latos accepted a spot at Triple-A Buffalo.

— Shi Davidi is a columnist for Sportsnet

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