Pitching prospect Hagen Danner promoted to Triple-A following dominant start to season
Photo credit:© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis3 months ago
The Blue Jays have a pitching prospect who’s knocking on the door.
Following a dominant start to the season between Low-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire, Hagen Danner has been advanced to Triple-A Buffalo. Between the two levels, the 24-year-old right-hander tossed 11 innings and struck out a whopping 21 batters in the process.
Danner was Toronto’s second-round pick from the 2017 draft. He spent his first three professional seasons as a catcher and transitioned into becoming a pitcher when the minor-league baseball season in 2020 was wiped out due to the pandemic. He threw 35 2/3 innings for High-A Vancouver that season and posted an impressive 2.02 ERA while striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings.
The Blue Jays added Danner to their 40-man roster after the 2021 season so that he wouldn’t be eligible to be selected by another team in the Rule 5 Draft. The hope was that Danner could possibly make an impact on the big-league club during the 2022 season but an elbow injury limited him to just four appearances in Double-A.
Danner sits in the high-90s with his fastball and also throws a wipeout slider and a curveball to mix speeds. He spoke with FanGraphs about becoming a pitcher and said that his experience trying to throw out runners from behind the plate made moving to the mound a fairly simple transition.
“I’m around 97–99 [mph]. It makes my life a little easier, because I can miss locations every once in a while. You see guys getting outs at 88–90, and they’re different pitchers — they’ve got to learn different ways to get outs, they’ve got to move the ball differently — whereas I can kind of just throw it in there. When I’m up in the zone, I get swing-and-miss.As a catcher, you’ve got to learn how to get behind a baseball and get that true spin on it to second base. Once I was able to do that, pitching was super easy for me.”
Since Danner is already on the 40-man, it’s reasonable to assume that he could get a call-up to the big-league club at some point this season if he does well in Buffalo. He’s dominated High-A and Double-A competition and we’ll see how he fares against Triple-A players.
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