Reports are that the Blue Jays will make a couple of moves with their minor league catchers on Friday, getting ready to take on the Houston Astros by calling up Raffy Lopez from Buffalo while putting Miguel Montero on the DL. Moving up from Double-A New Hampshire to Buffalo is homegrown prospect Danny Jansen.
With a groin injury, Miguel Montero, picked up from the Chicago Cubs in July, will go on the 10-day DL while Raffy Lopez, signed to a minor league free agent deal in February, will come up to the Blue Jays.
Lopez has been having a career year with Buffalo, showing some surprising power. Lopez’s previous season high was eight home runs, achieved back in 2013 in Double-A with the Chicago Cubs’ affiliate in Tennessee. This year, Lopez slugged four home runs in 14 games with Double-A New Hampshire before moving up to Triple-A Buffalo where he has hit .293/.368/.551 with 13 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs in 59 games.
Lopez has been all around baseball since being drafted by the Cubs in the 16th round in 2011. Lopez, 29, made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2014, playing in seven games and was traded the following year to the Los Angeles Angels. He was released at the end of 2015 and was a journeyman for a while, signing with the Tigers in January of 2016, getting released before the start of the season and catching on with the Cincinnati Reds after a brief stint with Bridgeport in the independent Atlantic League. He had poor Triple-A numbers with Louisville and was called up at the end of October to the big leagues where he played sparingly in six games.
Obviously, 2017 has been a revelation for Lopez who had hit with more authority than he ever has in his minor league career since his stint in Rookie ball back in his draft year.
Moving up to take Lopez’s spot on the Bisons’ roster is catcher Danny Jansen. Jansen, 22, was also a 16th-round pick and he was selected out of high school in Wisconsin by the Blue Jays in 2013. Jansen broke out with a very strong sophomore season as a professional, hitting .283/.390/.484 with 10 doubles and five home runs in 38 games with the Bluefield Blue Jays in 2014 before a knee injury finished his season. Jansen sustained injuries in each of his next two years (breaking a bone in his hand, and then requiring surgery in 2016 to finally fix things) but showed some of what he can do in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .282/.366/.338 in 20 games.
This season, Jansen, like Lopez, has had a tremendous season. He started with Dunedin, hitting .369/.422/.541 with six doubles and five home runs in 31 games before a promotion to New Hampshire. Jansen’s power has fallen off with New Hampshire as he’s hitting .291/.378/.419, hitting 15 doubles, a triple and two home runs in 52 games. Jansen is throwing out 25% of potential base stealers this year although he’s done better in Double-A, with a 31% rating there.
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