Jaramillo Continues Working On "Everything"

Jason Jaramillo is starting his second full season at the Triple-A level and is basically ready for the majors, but right now, the Phillies don't need him, so he's playing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. While he's there, he's taking the opportunity to get better at every part of his game.

Jason Jaramillo is an injury away from the majors, but he's not resting on his laurels. Instead, he's working on "everything" to get himself ready for when the call finally comes. Jaramillo sees himself as being a good player, but admits that he's getting a little antsy playing at Triple-A. "When you're at this level [Triple-A] and you're doing well and succeeding you're dream is always to get up there to the big leagues, but for right now, my concern is here," said Jaramillo.

By the time most players reach the highest level of the minors, they generally feel like there's just one or two things that they could get better at to put themselves over the top. Instead, Jaramillo keeps working on everything he can. "I'm working on everything," said Jaramillo very seriously. "I need to work on swinging the bat and be consistent right-handed and left-handed. I started switch-hitting late in my career, when I was a senior in high school." Jaramillo doesn't limit himself to just working on his offense, either, even though he's considered to be an above average defensive catcher. "I really pride myself on working with my pitching staff and making sure that they like throwing to me and can have the best success." Jaramillo has a goal for both him and the guys that he catches. "I want to be catching these guys in the big leagues, someday," said Jaramillo.

Jason Jaramillo is hitting just .167 this season, but will wind up hitting much more than that if he sticks true to his stats. Defensively, he's one of the best around and pitchers love working with him. If not for Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste, Jaramillo would likely be a Major Leaguer right now. (Photo: Chuck Hixson/PBN)

While Jaramillo's team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, are struggling this season, he is happy to be playing in a different atmosphere than he was in last season when the Phillies Triple-A affiliate was in Ottawa. The 'Pigs are in their inaugural season and play in a brand new $47 million stadium, which is a big difference from the setting in Ottawa last season. "The atmosphere is unbelievable here. The fan turnout and buzz here is just amazing," said Jaramillo about the new franchise, which currently ranks second in the International League in attendance per game. The 'Pigs have struggled this season and endured an 11 game losing streak to start the season before winning two straight. Unfortunately, their win streak ended Wednesday night against Toledo, but they'll look to start a new streak as things appear to be turning around. "We've just been struggling with the sticks and haven't been able to do our job offensively," said Jaramillo about what has been holding back Lehigh Valley in the early going.

As for what's been good, Jaramillo is quick to credit the pitching staff with helping keep things from getting out of hand. Ron Chiavacci has led the starters this season and has a 0.52 ERA through his first three starts of the year, but Jaramillo believes that the staff is much deeper and better than they've gotten credit for being. "The rest of the guys have done a pretty good job, too. I came up with J.A. [Happ] and Bisenius and it's just been a pleasure catching those guys, they're phenomenal," said Jaramillo about some of the pitchers that he's working with in the Lehigh Valley. Jaramillo also gave credit to a former Phillie, Gavin Floyd, who came close to a no-hitter for the White Sox last week. "I caught him in the Arizona Fall League and I'm not surprised [by how well he pitched]. He really has good stuff and he's a phenomenal guy and it was great to see."

So, if he got the chance now, would Jaramillo be ready for a Major League call-up. "I think I'm ready," admitted the 25 year old catching prospect. "But like I said, you can always get better and that's what I'm working to do and I just want to prove to everyone in the organization that I'm ready if they need help at the next level." There is little doubt that Jaramillo's defense is Major League ready and his approach to working with pitchers is also top-notch, but offensively, there are still some holes to fill in, but for the most part, Jaramillo would be ready to take over at least as a back-up catcher and very possibly as an everyday catcher at the big league level.

Jason Jaramillo's 2008 stats

2 2 .167 11 42 3 7 0 0 0 1 5 .186 .310 .496 0

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