2017 Toronto Blue Jays Season Review: Mike Ohlman

 Catcher Mike Ohlman made his major league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Catcher Mike Ohlman made his major league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Jay Blue

Blue Jays from Away

Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward

As I wrote when discussing Miguel Montero a couple of days ago, the Blue Jays' backup catcher situation in 2017 was pretty fluid and ineffective. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia washed out, the Blue Jays tried Mike Ohlman behind the plate but he didn't get much of a chance to show what he could do.

Ohlman, now 27, was an 11th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2009 and, at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, has always been known more for his bat than for his glove behind the plate. Ohlman started the year with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons, providing some power in their lineup, hitting .246/.388/.594 with three doubles and seven home runs in 23 games leading up to May 7.

The Blue Jays liked the look of his patience at the plate as well as his power (although his 28 strikeouts in 85 plate appearances wasn't so hot), and called him up to make his major league debut on May 9. He went 0-for-3 against the Cleveland Indians and went 1-for-4 against the Atlanta Braves on May 15, going 1-for-1 as a pinch hitter the next day and 0-for-1 the day after.

He was sent back down to Buffalo where, from May 24 to August 9, he hit .214/. 326/.354 with 12 doubles and five home runs before another brief call up in which he went 1-for-4 in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Ohlman was returned to Buffalo and, now that he was fighting for playing time with Danny Jansen, got into just seven games in the last couple of weeks in the season and went 3-for-21 with 10 strikeouts in 23 plate appearances.

Overall, Ohlman hit .216/.334/.401 walking in an outstanding 14.5% of plate appearances but striking out in 34.6% with the Bisons. With the Jays, he hit .231/.231/.231 without walking and striking out in 23.1% of plate appearances.

While the Jays are still looking for a backup catcher to upgrade over Luke Maile, the emergence of Jansen and Reese McGuire offer better defensive options for the Jays if needed and Ohlman won't be in the Toronto picture for 2018.

Contract Status

Ohlman became a free agent following the season and has since signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers, getting an invite to major league spring training.

2017 Regular Season Grades

Jay Blue: Incomplete
Emily: C- (Small Sample Size)

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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!

Jay Blue

A lifelong Toronto Blue Jays fan, Jay Blue started blogging about the Jays when he was living in Berlin, Germany. He founded his own blog, Blue Jays from Away, to write about developments with his home town team, focusing on the Jays' minor league system. When he's not watching baseball, he is usually on the diamond umpiring or he's pursuing his research interests in the field of ethnomusicology.