Jaramillo Facing Ups and Downs at Reading

It's never easy to skip a level in the minors and Jason Jaramillo is finding that out. Offensively, Jaramillo is scuffling a little, but his defense and game calling skills have been as good as ever at the AA level.

Jason Jaramillo knows that he has to contribute something to his team. He knows he can hit and he knows he can help defensively. He's also a top-notch catcher when it comes to working with young pitchers, so he's using his defense and game calling skills to help while his offense still looks for a groove to fit into.

Sometimes, a catcher's importance to the pitching staff is overlooked, but not so with Jaramillo. Reading pitching coach Tom Filer knows how much Jaramillo is contributing. "I love that guy," beamed Filer. "He pays attention to details. He's very receptive and communicates very well and that will go a long way. From a catching standpoint, he's an excellent prospect."

For his part, Jaramillo also understands his importance behind the plate. "We've got a great staff and I always look forward to working with each one of them," said the 23 year old catching prospect.

One of the possible problems offensively for Jaramillo is that he could be putting pressure on himself to perform. Jaramillo is hitting just .091 (1-for-11) with runners in scoring position and only .150 (3-for-20) with runners on base this season. He's also struggled at home, hitting .118 (2-for-17) in BaseballTown, compared to .333 (10-for-30) on the road.

Many consider the jump from High-A ball to AA to be the toughest jump in the minors. Jaramillo didn't have the advantage of playing at High-A and arrived in Reading right out of Low-A Lakewood. It's been a challenge, but Jaramillo is always up for a good challenge. "I looked forward to this. The game is gonna be a little different here, but I love being challenged." The move was made a little easier by having manager P.J. Forbes make the jump along with Jaramillo. "I had P.J. last year, so I'm one of the fortunate guys. It's helped to settle me in here in Reading and I enjoy playing for him."

As for the future, Jaramillo is aware of the Phillies' catching situation, but is just focusing on doing what he can to get to the majors on the fastest timetable possible. "All that stuff is out of my hands. There are a number of things that can happen, so I just have to control the things that I can control and try to stay healthy," explained Jaramillo. With Mike Lieberthal in the final year of his contract, Jaramillo is just a little off from being on the perfect track to replace the veteran at the major league level in 2007.

It is unlikely that Jaramillo will be ready to take over the major league catching job in 2007, but he shouldn't be too far off of that.

Jason Jaramillo's Season Stats
Through April 24th.

0 4 .255 14 47 4 12 5 0 0 7 10 .339

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