Danny Jansen arrived at Coca-Cola Field frustrated yet determined. The Blue Jays' sixth-ranked prospect had two hits in his previous 25 at-bats, with appearances in the Triple-A All-Star Game and the Futures Game keeping him from finding any sort of groove. He figured things out Sunday, homering twice and plating three runs
Danny Jansen arrived at Coca-Cola Field frustrated yet determined.
The Blue Jays' sixth-ranked prospect had two hits in his previous 25 at-bats, with appearances in the Triple-A All-Star Game and the Futures Game keeping him from finding any sort of groove.
He figured things out Sunday, homering twice and plating three runs to lead Triple-A Buffalo to a 5-3 victory over Durham.
"I have high expectations for myself," Jansen said. "I think I was trying to do a little too much. I'm not like a home run hitter. I think I was just trying to do too much. The past couple of days have been kind of frustrating. I just wanted to come in today and just really simplify the basics. Be early, relax and just try to find some barrels, go up the middle. That's what happened. I put some good swings on it today."
Jansen drew a first-inning walk off starter Ryan Weber and led off the third with his ninth homer the year, taking reliever Jake Faria deep over the wall in left-center field.
One inning later, the 23-year-old native launched a no-doubt two-run blast to left-center. It was a refreshing feeling for Jansen, who decided he needed a different approach to turn around his fortunes at the dish.
"The way you get to [that point] is by having that little funk that you've got going on for a week," he said. "It's kind of like an eye-opener. 'Why am I struggling? What am I doing wrong? What can I change?' As baseball players, we're always looking to make those changes midseason. For me, it was just simplifying things."
Jansen took a called third strike against right-hander Mike Franco in the sixth.
Gameday box score
Normally a catcher, the 2013 16th-round Draft pick served as the Bisons designated hitter on Sunday.
"It's definitely harder," Jansen said. "Because when you're a catcher, you're locked in the whole game. When you DH, you have four at-bats pretty much, then after that at-bat, you're sitting on the bench. You gotta try to stay locked into the game."
Jansen also said he'll watch the opposing pitcher more intently, but being a designated hitter is something to which he must adjust, despite not struggling against Durham. The 6-foot-2 prospect upped his slash line to .275/.402/.479 with 10 homers, 50 RBIs and 40 walks in 240 at-bats.
"It was definitely a little bit of a different routine for him, so to speak" Buffalo manager Bobby Meacham said. "But now he's back in his routine [and] back to swinging the bat good."
And even though Jansen wasn't behind the plate, he still had a front row seat to Sean Reid-Foley's outing. The Jays' No. 10 prospect allowed two hits and a walk while striking out seven over six scoreless innings.
"The plan was just to be on the attack," Reid-Foley said. "We know Durham is a pretty good hitting team. I just tried to make quality pitches for a quality result."
The right-hander retired the first 10 hitters and the Bulls didn't challenge him until the sixth. Reid-Foley (7-2) gave up an infield single to Mac James and walked Andrew Velazquez before striking out Kean Wong and getting Rays No. 13 prospectBrandon Lowe to fly to center. The 2014 second-round pick threw 68 of 97 pitches for strikes and has a 2.00 ERA in winning his last five decisions.
"He's got that electric stuff, man," Jansen said. "The reason why he's having such good success is his off-speed stuff. Curveball, slider, changeup, that's all plus pitches. He controls them all and throws them in whatever count."
The batterymate also noted that Reid-Foley is not afraid to challenge hitters with his fastball, which sits in the 95-97 mph range.
"He's got that aggressive mindset and that's what really, really helps him," Jansen said.
Blue Jays No. 15 prospect Rowdy Tellez followed his two-homer game Saturday with three hits and an RBI. The 23-year-old is batting .333 with a 1.109 OPS and four long balls in his last 36 at-bats.
"He's finding those holes," Jansen said. "He's got a lot of confidence. He's a big presence now, hitting some homers. I think he's at his best when he's hitting balls to the left-center gap and he stays through the ball."
Chris Bumbaca is a contributor for MiLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca.