DUNEDIN, FLA. – Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Dan Jansen is doing all he can to improve and develop as a player.
The catcher, who was born in Appleton, Wisconsin and selected by the Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2013 draft, enjoys the hard work and camaraderie that spring training brings.
Jansen is hungry and motivated to show the Jays that he is capable of playing at the next level.
“When I was drafted, it was one of the best feelings,” said Jansen. “It was like one of my dreams came true already, and I’ve got to keep working to make sure the other one comes true too (playing for the big club).”
The backstop had a .246 BA, to go along with .364 OBP and 18 RBIs with the Blue Jays in the Gulf Coast League last season.
Jansen had an extremely busy off-season, leaving no stone unturned in his preparation for spring training this year in Dunedin.
“I worked extremely hard on my agility and flexibility especially, as well as my strength and conditioning,” said Jansen. “I also did yoga on Wednesdays, two-a-day workouts; everything I could to prepare for the grind of the season.”
Jansen has found yoga and stretching particularly helpful for treating the inevitable wear and tear that all catchers deal with on their knees throughout the year.
His goals for spring training and the upcoming season remain the same since he started playing baseball.
“I always strive to be a good team player,” said Jansen. “I am competitive and I am always trying to be the best catcher and leader I can be, both on and off the field.”
Jansen also loves learning new things and the constant challenge of improving all facets of his game.
“I want to learn new things about this game from (Blue Jays catching coordinator) Sal Fasano and the other great instructors here,” said Jansen. “I just want to take everything that everyone has taught me and put it into my game to be the best ballplayer possible.”
Jansen’s favourite player is San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, and the youngster tries to emulate many facets of the big leaguer’s game.
“I love watching Buster Posey, there’s just something about him,” said Jansen. “He’s got a great bat, a great arm and I love his footwork.”
The much-debated home-plate collision rule is coming into play this season and Jansen is hardly its biggest supporter, but he understands why Major League Baseball made the change.
“It’s taken a part of baseball away, but it’s going to save careers,” said Jansen. “But I knew what I was signing up for as a catcher, so even if that rule wasn’t in play, I’d still love catching and be a catcher.”
In addition to all the schooling Jansen is experiencing on the field, he is also doing some off of it to help him work with the pitching staff – learning Spanish.
“I want to have a conversation with some of these guys,” said Jansen. “It would help to be able to communicate with each other better and not have somebody else translate.”