Jason Jaramillo: "I always knew what to expect"

Jason Jaramillo is the Phillies 22-year old catching prospect of the future, currently playing with the Lakewood Blue Claws. Jaramillo is a highly competitive catcher who tries to do all he can everyday to make himself a better player. He is currently lighting the South Atlantic League on fire after struggling in the short-season New York-Penn League last year.

Jason Jaramillo managed only a paltry .223 average at Batavia last year, but it hasn't hurt him any, as he had pushed his average up to . 314 through the first month of the season in Lakewood. He says it is tough though, being one of a few players performing on a team that has struggled that way the BlueClaws have in the early going.

"It's tough for any competitive person when we are struggling like this. You just have to stay positive and continue to work with the coaches." says Jaramillo.

Jaramillo believes his family has played a large part in his personal baseball success. His siblings helped to show him what he was working toward and what he would face when he got there.

"I would play my brother in pick up games when I was younger and since they were older, they were always ahead of me. I always knew what to expect when I got to the next level because I had seen what they had gone through." said the young catcher.

How long Jaramillo's siblings will be able to stay ahead of him on the ladder of their professional careers is debatable because the younger Jaramillo finds himself on the Phillies' fast track to the Major Leagues. Phillies GM Ed Wade identified the young catcher as one of a handful of prospects who the organization is very high on and who could be on the proverbial fast track to Philadelphia.

Of course, the key to any fast track is playing every day and getting your at-bats, a fact Jaramillo readily acknowledges. "I just have to stay healthy and play well and that will go a long way toward determining my success." says Jaramillo.

The team's early season struggles have made it more difficult for Jaramillo to think about his own personal success. The team's 9-24 record makes it hard for Jaramillo to enjoy his success and he doesn't let himself think about the possibility of a promotion through at this point of the season.

"It's tough. I really haven't thought about it. There's a lot of season left." says Jaramillo.

He spent his winter playing in the Florida Instructional League along with several of his Lakewood teammates. According to Jaramillo, this experience will help the team grow together as well as his own personal development.

"It's a big deal to be able to play with guys. I think its important and could play a role in our success." said Jaramillo. With the Lakewood clubhouse rich in camaraderie, friendship and talent, results should be automatic, but they haven't been so far this year. As Jaramillo's teammate Ryan Frith says, "Baseball's a funny game." Jaramillo believes the team's struggles make it difficult to come up with a definition of success for the season.

"I think it's difficult for any competitive person but you have to keep it all in perspective and realize that you can't control everything." says the twenty-two year old catcher. Lakewood finds itself in the South Atlantic League Northern Division cellar at 9-24 and 12 games back of Hagerstown, and Jaramillo believes the team must start building momentum now if they want to make a run in the second-half. Jaramillo believes, "We have to look day-to-day and put wins together now. We need to start playing better now and it won't take that long for us to get on a roll."

Lakewood needs to start making headway and get everything going in the right direction to be in a position to make a run in the second-half. Jaramillo would be a big part of any potential run the BlueClaws hope to make this year, if he's around long enough to be a part of it.

If Jaramillo can sure up his defense, which has been shaky at times through the season's first five weeks, he deserves a chance to see if he can make the jump to Clearwater late in the season. This would also show Phillies' fans that Mike Lieberthal's potential replacement is on the fast track to the big leagues. Jaramillo should be given every opportunity to show what he can do because he is the best catching prospect the organization has, and he has to be closer than five years away with the deterioration of Lieberthal's performance at the Major League level.

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