TORONTO -- Danny Jansen's stock is rising in the Blue Jays' Minor League system, and so is his ranking among some of the top prospects in baseball.Jansen's strong showing last season secured him a spot on MLB Pipeline's updated list of the top 10 catching prospects. The 22-year-old is ranked
TORONTO -- Danny Jansen's stock is rising in the Blue Jays' Minor League system, and so is his ranking among some of the top prospects in baseball.
Jansen's strong showing last season secured him a spot on MLB Pipeline's updated list of the top 10 catching prospects. The 22-year-old is ranked eighth after hitting .323/.400/.484 across three Minor League levels in 2017.
Internally, the Blue Jays have been touting Jansen's upside since 2014, but it was last year that he established himself as Toronto's potential catcher of the future. He remained healthy for the first time and set personal bests in every major offensive category.
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Jansen's production forced the Blue Jays to make the easy decision of adding him to the 40-man roster this offseason. He needed protection from the Rule 5 Draft, and the Blue Jays are content to use one of his three option years this season with the expectation that Jansen will start for Triple-A Buffalo.
The Blue Jays are expected to break camp with Russell Martin and Luke Maile on their big league roster. Jansen and fellow prospect Reese McGuire are currently the only other catchers on the 40-man roster, and they will be competing against each other for the third spot on Toronto's depth chart. On the surface, that might not seem like a big deal, but it quickly becomes one if either Martin or Maile sustains an injury.
In the meantime, the Blue Jays will look for Jansen to continue his development in the Minors. He is in Toronto this week to participate in the club's Rookie Development Program, which acts as an orientation camp for the next wave of young talent. He will meet with the media on Friday, and then participate in Toronto's inaugural Winter Fest at Rogers Centre the following day.
Jansen began the 2017 season ranked as Toronto's No. 22 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and he moved up to No. 17 midway through the year. His ranking will almost assuredly climb once again in '18, and the upward trajectory coincides with the path he has taken in the Minors. After beginning last season at Class A Advanced Dunedin, Jansen received a pair of promotions within a couple of months, even garnering some attention as a potential September callup.
Jansen, a 16th-round pick in the 2013 Draft, hit at every level. One reason for his breakout season was improved health. Another was getting prescribed glasses. A third was the experience that comes with being around for parts of five seasons and learning to avoid some of the pitfalls that come with being a professional athlete.
"Hitting has always been something that when I start thinking on it, it kind of goes bad," Jansen told MiLB.com in December. "This year, I came in and said, 'I'm not going to think about mechanics. I'm going to be athletic, balanced and just be me and swing. See where that takes me. Not really thinking about my hands, but letting my hands do what they do.'"
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.