Toronto Blue Jays: 5 questions with prospect Hagen Danner

DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Hagen Danner #65 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portrait during Photo Day at TD Ballpark on March 19, 2022 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Hagen Danner #65 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a portrait during Photo Day at TD Ballpark on March 19, 2022 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

This week, I had the opportunity to talk to Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Hagen Danner, who is ranked 17th on the Blue Jays top prospects list according to

Coming out of high school, Danner played catcher and pitcher, and was good at both. Danner told teams to choose which position they wanted him to play. About half the teams wanted him as a pitcher and half as a hitter.

Danner was selected in the second round of the 2017 MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

From 2017 to 2019, Danner played two seasons with the Blue Jays rookie ball team and one with their Low-A team. He played those three seasons as a catcher. His averages were sub-par and he just wasn’t having fun.

With that in mind, Danner wanted to switch back to a pitcher, a position he hadn’t played since high school. He asked the Blue Jays and they agreed. He was ready to go for the 2021 season when the minor leagues resumed after their hiatus … but this time as a pitcher.

Danner was with Toronto’s High-A team in 2021. This season, he is on their Double-A team, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and is the team’s primary closer.

His pitch repertoire consists of a fastball, slider, and curveball. In his minor league career, Danner is 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, and five saves in 29 appearances. Danner has only appeared in four games this year. He is currently on the seven-day injured list.

I talked to Danner about his experiences as a pitcher in the minor leagues.

Our interview with Toronto Blue Jays prospect Hagen Danner

Q: You told teams to choose what position you should play when you were drafted. When some teams preferred one position and other teams preferred another, did that get in your head? Were you ever second-guessing yourself over what position you should play?

A: It never got in my head. The only thing that got in my head was consistently failing at the plate. I never second-guessed my decision because I felt blessed to even be in that situation.

Q: Could you ever see yourself playing a hitting/pitching role such as Shohei Ohtani?

A: When I was getting drafted, I would’ve thought more on that role. But, after hitting for three years in pro ball I realized hitting was not for me. I love pitching so much that it’s the only thing I want to focus on.

Q: Your pitch arsenal is built like a closer. Did you ever want to be a starting pitcher? Do you think you would ever transition?

A: When I first came back to pitching, I was thinking I was going to be a starter. Now that I’ve had time as a closer in the minor leagues, I only want to be a late-inning pitcher. There’s nothing like being able to just kind of be a psycho/dog on the mound and just try to strike everyone out in an inning or two.

Q: As a closing pitcher, two things happen: You either come in and do your job and all is great, or you quite literally blow it, as in blown save. What’s it like when you come in as the closer and don’t do your job? Talk to me about the vibe around the clubhouse after the game. Do you feel personal guilt? Talk to me about how you bounce back.

A: Well, blowing a save is never fun as a closer. You always want to go out there with your best stuff and shut the other team down. Sometimes your stuff isn’t as sharp and things don’t go your way. You really just have to be a psycho and wash it and come back the next day as a “dog” like always.

Next. Examining the fit between Josh Bell and the Blue Jays. dark

Q: What’s been the best moment/experience you have had in the minors?

A: I honestly have met some of my best friends through pro baseball so far. That has to be the best part.