Jason Jaramillo can't get to the majors fast enough. Since he needs more work
in the minors, Mike Lieberthal isn't considered a road block, since Lieby's
contract is up at the end of the 2006 season. There's Carlos Ruiz, but the
Phillies appear slow to elevate him to even a backup status. That leaves Jason
Jaramillo to stand as the Phillies' catcher of the future.
Overall Numbers: Jason Jaramillo didn't set the world on fire with his inaugural performance at Batavia in 2004. Hitting just .223, Jaramillo had a lot of adjusting to do and relatively little time to do it in. In 2005, the Phillies showed enough confidence in him to send him to Lakewood and he responded in his first full-season league by hitting .304 and posting a .368 on-base percentage. Good numbers for a 23 year old kid looking to get to Philadelphia in the near future.
Plate Discipline: Overall, Jaramillo walked once every 10.1 at bats and struck out once every 6.2 at bats. His walk to strikeout ratio for the season was .6 walks per strikeout. The average at Lakewood was one walk for every 9.6 at bats, one strike out for every 4.6 at bats and a walk to strikeout ratio of .5 walks for every strikeout. Jaramillo's strikeout numbers aren't too much of a concern, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Righty vs. Lefty: For the switch-hitting Jaramillo, left-handers seem easier to solve. In 100 at bats against lefties in 2005, Jaramillo hit a hot .360 with a .520 slugging percentage and a .413 on-base percentage. Righties didn't get off the hook easily either, with Jaramillo hitting .287. Power-wise, Jaramillo homered once every 58 at bats against righties and once every 50 at bats against right-handers. At the plate, Jaramillo struck out once every six at bats against right-handers and once every 7.1 at bats against lefties. His at bats / walk numbers and walks / strikeout ratios were pretty steady as well.
The Power Numbers: Jaramillo doesn't figure to become a huge power hitter, but he should show a little pop in his bat. As noted earlier, his power numbers against right-handers and left-handers are pretty steady. He homered eight times for Lakewood and some scouts believe that should be about right for his major league projections, while others believe he could put another four or five homeruns per season on his total. The big question would be how many strikeouts it might add to his stats and of course, the age-old argument of increasing homeruns at the expense of his overall average. The Phillies would likely be happy with Jaramillo hitting eight or ten homeruns per season if he can hit right around the .300 mark throughout his career. In case you're wondering, Mike Lieberthal has averaged one homerun every 28 at bats in the majors and has a career average of .275 over 12 seasons. Jaramillo took exactly twice as many at bats for every homerun as Lieberthal has, but his career minor league average - even with a poor 2004 season - is .291.
Clutch Situations: Actually, there were mixed results here. Jaramillo hit an impressive .326 with runners on base and .342 with runners in scoring position and two outs. The bad news is that he hit just .172 with runners in scoring position and less than two outs and just .100 (just 20 at bats) with the bases loaded.
Month-to-Month: Jaramillo started strong and then saw things slow up for a couple months, only to rebound. After April, Jaramillo was hitting .328, but then fell to .275 for the month of May. In June, he swooned, hitting .206 and through the first three months of the season, Jaramillo was hitting .271 with four homeruns and 28 RBI. He rebounded and hit a combined .342 over July and August and then tailed off to .211 (just 19 at bats) in September. His homerun numbers stayed pretty steady throughout the season, but his RBI numbers took a hit in June. It's interesting to note that in his biggest RBI months (May and July), his walks to strikeouts ratio took a hit. Over those two months, he walked .4 times for every strikeout compared to his mark of .8 walks per strikeout in the other four months of the season and his season average of .6 walks per strikeout.
Doubling The Pleasure: Many scouts will tell you to look at a player's stats and check to see how many doubles he has in his early years to judge how he'll progress. Jaramillo's 28 doubles were second to teammate Mike Dzurilla for the Lakewood team lead in doubles. In each of Jaramillo's two seasons, a full 20% of his hits have been doubles, even when he struggled at Batavia in 2004. That's one of the numbers that many scouts have been impressed with when looking at Jaramillo.
Defensive Numbers: While Jaramillo is considered a strong defensive catcher, his numbers were off in 2005. After posting a strong .992 fielding percentage in his first season, Jaramillo slumped to a .974 percentage in 2005. Again, by comparison, Lieberthal has a career mark of .992 and Jaramillo will have to get close to that number. As for handling pitchers, Jaramillo knows what he's doing and how to get through to pitchers to get the most out of them.