Jared Janczak has seen a ton of baseball in his young life in various cities.
From Belton to Fort Worth and from Omaha to Goodyear, AZ, Janczak has taken the baseball train to many destinations around the country.
Janczak, a member of the 2014 class of the Belton Wall of Honor, is a Tiger Baseball alumnus. He is the son of Michael and Kristi Janczak. He also the brother of former Lady Tiger volleyball and track & field standout Jamie Janczak and football player/musician Jason Janczak.
The Tigers pulled up Janczak during his freshman season of 2012.
In 2013, Janczak was 0-2 in four appearances on the mound. In a staff that saw the likes of Blayten Magana, Hunter Houston and Shane Ward as the main starting combination, Janczak tossed 10 innings, allowed eight earned runs, struck out 10 and walked eight for an earned run average of 5.60.
Janczak played in a total of 34 games in 2013. He hits .336 (24-of-88), hit two home runs, drove in 19 runs, had six doubles, six stolen bases and walked 17 times for the 16-11 Tigers.
The 2014 season was an excellent one for Janczak. In a season that saw the Tigers roll up a 23-10 record, Janczak was 8-1 with a save in 11 appearances on the hill. He had an earned run average of 0.66 (based on seven inning scale), collected 94 strikeouts and 18 walks. Having allowed just five earned runs all season, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was a solid 12.34-1. Opponents hit .138 and had an on-base percentage of .219 against Janczak.
Janczak’s fielding percentage in his senior season was .971, having committed just one error in 34 chances.
As potent as Janczak was on the mound, he was as impressive at the plate. Janczak hit .358 (34-of-95) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 27 runs batted in, 14 walks and 10 stolen bases. He hit a lethal .395 (17-of-43) with runners in scoring position and had an on-base percentage of .447.
Janczak was named to the Super Centex squad and nominated to the Texas Sports Writers Class 5A Honorable Mention.
Janczak graduated Belton and attended Texas Christian University to pitch for the Horned Frogs.
He redshirted in 2015 and started pitching for TCU in 2016. He made 26 appearances (seven starts) for the Horned Frogs, as it helped TCU to the College World Series. Janczak was 7-4 with a 2.61 ERA, struck out 80 and walked 26.
The performance earned Janczak a spot in the revered Cape Cod League for a three-week stint in the summer of 2016. For Yarmouth-Dennis, Janczak was 0-1 in five appearances (three starts) with an ERA of 3.71. He had 11 strikeouts and three walks.
When he returned to the Horned Frogs in 2017, he was one of the top sophomores in the country. Janczak went 9-2 in 15 appearances with a 2.31 ERA, struck out 102 batters and walked just 24. TCU appeared in the College World Series once again and Janczak got the start in Omaha before a national television audience.
“It was a very cool feeling,” Janczak recalled. “My friends were texting me, wishing me good luck. However, at the time, it was business as usual. That night, we ran into the buzz saw that was (Florida Gator, Detroit Tiger pitcher) Alex Faedo.”
In 2018, the Los Angeles Angels in the 32nd round drafted Janczak. It gave the Belton Tiger Baseball team draft picks in successive years in the 32nd round, as former Tiger teammate Max Hogan was drafted in the same round by Baltimore in 2017.
Janczak leaned towards returning to school and did so for the 2019 season.
Janczak pitched 13 games before arm fatigue closed out his collegiate career.
In his four-year career at TCU, Janczak was 17-11 with a 3.11 ERA in 62 games. He pitched 257 11/3 innings, allowed 89 earned runs, walked 80 and struck out 256.
In 2019, Janczak was drafted in the 31st round by the Cleveland Indians and headed out west immediately after graduation to pitch for the Indians Blue squad in Goodyear, Ariz.
“It was a great experience,” Janczak said. “While it was good baseball, it provided instruction for all of us. Rookie ball is a good starting point for learning new mechanics and enhancing the ones that we already have.”
Janczak made 15 appearances for Indians Blue, all in relief. He went 1-0 with one save and a 4.02 ERA. He walked six batters and struck out 24.
Janczak was with the organization in Spring Training when the season was suspended on March 12.
This past week, Janczak was named to the Super Centex All-Decade Second Team. He was a member of the 2014 Super Centex team in 2014. Former Tiger and Baylor alumnus Dillon Newman was also named to the team.
“That is quite an honor, especially with the talent that we have here in Central Texas,” Janczak said.
While he continues to work out independently, he is currently working on his master’s degree through TCU.
“TCU has set me up on the path for success,” Janczak said. “I am continuing school and working towards my master’s, preparing me for life after baseball.”
Janczak continues workouts after minor league spring training halted
Janczak was drafted last May by the Cleveland Indians and played minor league baseball for their Arizona League affiliate in Goodyear last fall.
“Playing ball in the fall league was beneficial, as the team helped me work on training and pitching mechanics,” Janczak said. “It was a great experience to play with some guys that I competed against in college and some of the younger guys in our system as well.”
Janczak reported to rookie camp in Goodyear on March 1 with the intent of challenging for a spot in AA, AAA or the Indians. However, COVID-19 interrupted his dream, as it did for all of baseball
“When I first got to camp, it was business as usual,” Janczak said. “There was not much talk about COVID outside of what we all saw on the news. Around March 9, we started hearing plans that they were going to keep us all in Arizona for the entirety of Spring Training. On March 12, we were all directed to go home. So we drove back to Texas.”
The words and actions were definitely not what the former Tiger and TCU Horned Frog standout wanted to hear. However, given the gravity of the situation, Janczak is not resting and relaxing while not at camp. Professional baseball life carries on through individual workouts and bullpen sessions.
“Though the use of Zoom and video conferencing, I have been communicating with our coaching staff and instructors,” Janczak said.
Although camp is not currently in session, there is plenty of work to be done.
“It is unlike high school or college teams and workout programs; you are a professional athlete and you are expected to stay in shape,” Janczak said. “Personal accountability is key. Belton and TCU set forth solid habits for their athletes and they are habits that I have carried forward.”
Although the recent rumors floated around on Tuesday about Major League Baseball looking at a potential May start, Janczak said it is anyone’s guess to when the minor league programs will start back up.
“I had been hearing June or July. It really is anyone’s guess,” Janczak said. “Whenever I get that call to go, I will be ready.”