Saltalamacchia Making Great Progress

BravesCenter's Bill Shanks recently spoke with Myrtle Beach Manager Randy Ingle on the progress of 20-year-old catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

SHANKS: Tell me about Salty.
INGLE: Well I'm very pleased and I'm sure that the rest of the staff and Atlanta is very pleased with his progress, especially in the second half. I mean here's a guy who comes in here at nineteen years old in an older High-A league in the Carolina League and he's hitting pretty much in the heart of that lineup all year.

SHANKS: Has he done anything differently in the second half of the season to improve even more?
INGLE: Well I think his work habits and just experience. You can see things...his defense has really improve. From the beginning of the year when he wasn't blocking balls he should have blocked and missing some balls that he missed because he wasn't concentrating on every pitch. I've stayed on him as far as not getting lackadasical behind the plate and concentrating on every pitch to catch it or block it. Also, he's talked to Bruce (Dal Canton) a lot abou the mental part of it, calling a game, what hitters are looking for, and what the pitcher should throw and where he should throw it - just different situations. I think he's really improved defensively.

SHANKS: Well we know he's going to hit, right?
INGLE: Yeah. Well I'll tell you what you've got this big, strong switch-hitting kid with great size, especially for a catcher. He's putting together a very, very good year. He swings the bat equally well from both sides. He's been juicing the ball from both sides. He stands through the ball and uses the whole field. He's got an idea at the plate. He still has a ways to go, but at least I think he's really sped his progress up in this second half. He's leap-frogged to a different level. He's been pretty impressive.

SHANKS: Is he the most improved player on your team since the start of the season?
INGLE: I think he is. He's really done well.

Bill Shanks has a new book out on baseball scouting and player development called Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. Bill can be reached at

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