APPLETON - It's an enviable decision to have to make, but that doesn't make it easy. Former Appleton West High School catcher Danny Jansen was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He faced the decision: go pro, or honor his commitment to play in college.
Jansen, who committed to play college baseball at Jacksonville University in Florida, decided to skip school and join the Blue Jays organization.
"Ultimately my goal is to play professional baseball and to have that opportunity right away at a good round and in a great organization," said Jansen. "It's an awesome feeling and I want to follow my dream. I can always go to school later."
If a high school player is drafted, then decides to play in college, he cannot be drafted again until after his third year in school.
Jansen emphasized how difficult it was to tell Jacksonville head coach Tim Montez of his decision. He thanked Montez for his support and said it was tough to turn down a college lifestyle and chance to improve.
Jansen's comfort level with the Blue Jays organization helped him make his decision – the scout who watched Jansen play in person came across as genuine, and stayed in touch with Jansen even after the catcher broke his wrist his senior year.
Jansen got a call from the Blue Jays early Saturday as the team tried to figure out a signing bonus where they could get Jansen to sign. Once he heard his name called in the 16th round, he said he felt a weight lift off his shoulders.
"I'm still pretty shook up about it," said Jansen. "My body is like I'm on a cloud but, it was an awesome feeling and I wish I could do it all over again."
Jansen is leaving this week for the Blue Jay's facility in Dunedin, Florida to play short-season rookie baseball. He says he expects to sign his first professional contract Tuesday, and then there's not much time to sit around and celebrate.
"Wednesday is my first workout, you hit the ground running right away," said Jansen.
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