Throughout the 42-year history of the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s safe to say that the position of catcher has probably been their weakest of all. For sure there have been some solid catchers to have played for Toronto, but compared to positions such as right field, 2nd and 3rd base, the Blue Jays have had so much less talent behind the plate.
Along with shortstop and left field, catchers have made the fewest all-star game appearances for the Blue Jays (3). It’s a similar story for gold gloves. With the exception of left field, 1st base, and catcher, Toronto’s had a gold glove winner at every other position.
Catcher has been as difficult a position as there’s been for the Blue Jays to develop big league talent. So to see Danny Jansen doing what’s he’s been doing of late, it really catches your attention simply because it’s so rare that a catcher this talented comes around for the Blue Jays.
Arguably the greatest catcher in Blue Jays history, Ernie Whitt, was developed in the Red Sox farm system. So the Blue Jays can’t even take credit for much of his development that took place in the minors. After Whitt, the next best catcher to ever play for the Blue Jays was Pat Borders. Unlike Whitt, Borders was developed entirely in Toronto’s farm system. What’s funny about Borders is that he didn’t even become a catcher until 1986, after he’d already spent four seasons in the minors playing mostly 1st and 3rd base.
Then there’s Carlos Delgado who would only go on to catch five innings in the big leagues. For the majority of his time in the minor leagues before becoming an everyday player with the Blue Jays, Delgado was a catcher. The decision to move Delgado to 1st base was probably a good one. His bat was just that good, and had he played catcher while with the Blue Jays his offensive numbers wouldn’t have been near as impressive as the .282 AVG and 336 HR he hit with them.
Any conversation that focuses on Blue Jay catching prospects wouldn’t be complete without mentioning J.P. Arencibia. Most fans remember Arencibia for the player he was during his time in Toronto when he struck out too often, couldn’t hit for much AVG, and played shoddy defense behind the plate. Before joining the Blue Jays full-time in 2011, Arencibia was a stand-out catching prospect who could hit for both power and AVG. Arencibia is a perfect example of regardless of how well you played in the minors, there’s no guarantee you’ll dominate like that once you make it to the big leagues.
Danny Jansen wasn’t developed by another organization, nor did he spend the majority of his time in the minors playing another position prior to making the switch to catcher. Jansen has been catching since the very beginning of his time in the Blue Jays farm system. And ever since he got fitted with those glasses and started to show just how well he can hit, he’s become one of the best all-around catching prospects the Blue Jays have ever had.