Blue Jays 2024 Projections – Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk

Photo credit:© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Prasad
4 days ago
Similar to the starting pitching situation, the Toronto Blue Jays run-back the same catching duo in 2024 with Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk. The performance behind the dish is as crucial as the man 60 feet in front of them. 
There is a fine art in patrolling the backstop with expectations from all around and having a full nine innings in the front-line grind. The responsibility includes knowing and taking care of your pitchers, calling an effective game, being situationally aware and responsive, understanding the playbook, and controlling your end of the running game. Oh wait, we forgot…play your offensive role in the lineup. The catcher position is very dynamic and can set the tone for your entire field of play. 
That being said, are the Blue Jays satisfied where they are behind the dish or will the Gabriel Moreno loss forever haunt them? There are reasons Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen return to catch one of the best pitching staffs in the league. 
Jansen has been a staple behind the plate as it pertains to building trust and working with the majority of the Blue Jays pitching staff. He has spent seven seasons in the big leagues, all of them being with the Blue Jays. Jansen shows good baseball IQ and shows the ability to strongly field his position defensively. He works all his fundamentals to the elite level and helps his pitchers succeed in pitch location, pitch selection, and frame-work. 
Jansen’s career batting average is .224, which is highly mediocre but acceptable in a sense, given his day-to-day primary task. 2023 was probably one of his best years with regard to home runs and RBIs. He has silent pop and is a strong pull-side hitter when he gets his pitch or recognizes a mistake. Jansen smacked 17 dingers last year and drove in 53 RBIs in 268 at-bats.
Defensively, he’s been struggling with controlling his end of the running game. In 2023, he only threw out eight of 60 baserunners. Other factors could affect this, such as the pitcher’s time to the plate or failure to slide-step with runners on. He put up a 1.99-second POP time in 2023, ranked 49th in the MLB.
Defensively, in 2024, Jansen will have a good chance of mirroring his numbers. With a similar workload, including innings and at-bats, Jansen will project to be around the 13-15 home run mark with 45 RBIs in 270 at-bats. He will project to have a greater throw-out percentage than 15%, compared to the 13% of runners he threw out last year. 
Kirk is a highly trusted player behind the dish for Toronto. His all-star performance in 2022 silenced any doubters lurking in the shadows of baseball journalism. With a .285 batting average, he belted 14 home runs, 63 RBIs, and walked more than he struck out at 63 walks versus 58 strikeouts. He had a .372 on-base percentage and .415 slugging.
In 2023 the numbers were lesser in nature, consistent with a lesser number of plate appearances. When observing Kirk’s day-to-day performance, one may ponder the thought of him not representing what a championship-type catcher would appear as. The pros to Kirk are his ability to call a game, his aggressiveness at the dish to compensate for his standard offensive ability and his baseball IQ. 
Where does Kirk get hurt? His general athletic ability. His presence on the basepaths is somewhat of a liability while facing offensive situational baseball. His speed is non-existent and not to be toyed with. The athleticism issue also plays into his defensive game and keeping balls in-front of him, even in the most difficult situations. His arm is mediocre at best but his pop time makes up for it. In 2023 he recorded a 1.98 pop time, ranked 42nd in the MLB. So far in 2024, his pop is at 2.01, ranked seventh. 
In 2024, we expect to see Kirk throw out at least 35-40% of runners attempting to steal. His offensive numbers, if he sees 450 plus at-bats, will range at 10 home runs, 45 RBIs, and more walks than strikeouts. His average will sit around .240-.260. 
Catchers should be under the microscope this season for the team to re-evaluate the personnel and build an understanding of which way they want this position to be executed. 

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