TAMPA, Fla.—Minor-league catcher Dan Jansen is confident that he’ll make it to the big leagues.
The 19-year-old talent from the Bluefield Blue Jays spoke on the past, present and future stages of his baseball career after spring training practice on Tuesday.
Jansen was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2013 draft, straight out Appleton West High School in Wisconsin.
“I think I have a chip on my shoulder,” said Jansen, as he took a breather from catching drills at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. “(As a) 16th rounder, you’ve got a lot to prove and that’s awesome. I love being the underdog, I love having to work harder.”
Jansen’s hard work paid off playing for Toronto’s affiliate in the Advanced Rookie’s Appalachian League. His record for the last two seasons included 74 games played, 27 shutouts, 37 walks and 74 stolen bases.
Coaching from Sal Falsano and John Schneider, former catchers of the Toronto Blue Jays, have greatly contributed to Jansen’s years of success as a rookie.
“Falsano and Schneider helped me improve all aspects of my game,” said Jansen. “So those guys, my trainers and strength coaches have been huge.”
In preparation for the upcoming season, Jansen arrived at spring training ready to work on his agility, flexibility and throws from behind the plate. But more importantly, Jansen’s main goal for the season is to reinforce his relationships and be a leading player among his teammates.
“I’ve built so many relationships with the pitching staff and pitchers because I’m with them 100 per cent. I’m always positive and giving good feedback, which I think is a good aspect,” he said.
Jansen envisions a three-to-four year process before cracking the Blue Jays’ roster. But no matter how long it takes, he is set on getting there. Playing since he was five years old, Jansen’s passion for the sport has only grown with time.
“I want to love and play this game for as long as I can,” he said. “It’s a grind, being out here for spring training and all that, but you have to love it. I think that’s a big part of why I’m here.”
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