Photo Credit: MLB.com

Jays Take California High School Catcher/RHP Hagen Danner With Their Third Pick (61st Overall)!

Hagen Danner! Uh… yeah… your guess is as good as mine!

Hey, here’s someone who’d know!

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Longenhagen “had him in as a C” because Danner is also a pitcher. Whether or not the Blue Jays view him one way or the other (or both) isn’t clear, though when the pick was announced at the podium, the club’s representative, the great Lloyd Moseby, simply called him a catcher.

On the other hand…

I mean… the Jays aren’t bound to keep him at the position they said at the draft podium! So maybe we’ll see him get a chance to pitch a little as well — though, developmentally, that probably doesn’t sound like a great idea.

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And there’s more!

I mean… if you really want to call that singing.

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Now, John Fogerty, there’s a singer!

* * *

Baseball America had Danner exactly at 61 on their big board, while FanGraphs had him at 65, but Eric Longenhagen had something rather interesting to say about him:

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Danner was an early favorite to go near the top of this draft as an underclassman but has had shoulder issues and inconsistent velocity over the last few years, at times touching 96, sitting 86-90 at others. Even when he’s throwing hard, Danner’s fastball gets squared, though his curveball has plus projection. He has plus raw power at a plate and is a good athlete with experience catching good stuff as an amateur, but he needs significant defensive development (both as a receiver and thrower, as he’s inaccurate) to stay there. If he can, he’s a catcher with arm strength and big raw power.

Not sure I’m feelin’ that “even when he’s throwing hard, Danner’s fastball gets squared” bit, but given that he’s probably coming to the Jays as a catcher — and hoo boy, does this new Blue Jays front office ever love catchers! — maybe that’s OK! And, y’know, maybe it’s all that other stuff we have to worry about.

Or maybe there’s actually a lot to like here – which is certainly the sense you get from Nick J. Faleris and Burke Granger of 2080 Baseball, who make him the feature photo and the top name listed in their draft preview for Catchers:

Danner has enjoyed a strong spring for Huntington Beach – one of the nations top high school teams – drawing Day One attention both on the mound and at catcher. As a backstop, the UCLA commit has greatly improved his fluidity in actions, receiving, and footwork, helping evaluators to get comfortable with the idea that he can be more than just arm strength behind the dish.

. . .

While most teams may prefer the live arm on the mound, there’s a contingent of clubs interested in Danner’s upside as a potential above-average defender with plus arm strength and a solid stick. He’s in play early on Day One, and should be off the board by the second round at the latest.

2080 also notes that Danner has signed on to play for UCLA — which isn’t to suggest anybody sees signability concerns here.

Interestingly, Keith Law wonders if a third position could be in the cards for Danner, who he ranked as the 43rd best prospect available. He calls him “a bat-first catcher who almost certainly moves off the position in pro ball,” though he also suggests that his best position is probably still on the mound.

Hey, talent is talent, amiright? KEEP THOSE OPTIONS OPEN!

Uh… or maybe don’t. What the hell do I know?