Why Danny Jansen is key to the Blue Jays success in 2020

Danny Jansen will be the everyday catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 and if the ball club has success, he’ll be a key reason why.

Entering this season, Jansen is coming off his first season as an everyday catcher where he played in 107 games. There, he had a .207 batting average with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs and had a stellar .995 fielding percentage behind the plate.

Now in, the 2020 season Jansen will be relied upon to call the games of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who Toronto needs to pitch as he did with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019. Last season, the young catcher did have success calling games and throwing runners out as he threw 19 runners out for a 31% caught stealing rate.

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Although his fielding has been solid, his bat is something that can be a difference-maker in the Blue Jays season in 2020.

In 2019 he had a 1.0 WAR, which is a replacement-level player, which Toronto will need Jansen to improve upon if they are going to have success. The catcher is projected to be a bottom of the order bat, and with a lineup that may see Derek Fisher and Joe Panik, the Blue Jays need hits from their bottom of the order to turn the lineup over for the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette to be able to drive in runs.

Jansen had a .279 on-base percentage down from his .347 in his rookie 2018 season. If the 24-year-old can’t improve on his 2019 numbers, the Blue Jays offense will continue to struggle when pitchers hit the 6-9 part of the lineup, unless Jansen can start to get on base more, whether it be through walks or hits.

This is also something Jansen knows he has to improve on entering this 2020 season.

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“I know I struggled offensively but when I look back on it, that’s going to make me a better player and it already has,” Jansen said to The Canadian Press. “I finally have an offensive routine that’s gotten a lot stronger … If I hadn’t struggled I might not have had this strong of a routine now going into the season.

“And defensively, there’s a lot of things I can take from [last season]. First time in the big leagues, learning all the information, learning how to use it, catching a lot of different guys, [I gained] a lot of experience and I’m going to go from there.”

Not only is this a crucial season for Jansen to help Toronto be a competitive team, but it also could be a do-or-die season for him to be the starting catcher. Although he still is young, if his bat and calling games don’t take a leap forward this year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Blue Jays go to Alejandro Kirk in 2021, who many think is the catcher of the future in Toronto.

So, for the Blue Jays playoff hopes and his own future, Danny Jansen will need to be a key part of Toronto’s 2020 season.