Saturday, February 25, 2006

Talkin' Prospects - Jason Jaramillo

John Sickels over at Minor League Ball is having an All Questions Answered Thread today (2/25/06) between 12:00 - 2:00 (EST). He is taking questions now, so head on over there if you have anything you want to ask about anything minor league baseball related. I'm struggling to come up with any good questions of my own, so if anybody has anything that they want me to ask on their behalf, I'd be happy to do it. Just leave a comment before then and you're golden.

Now to provide a little content to this post...a commenter from about a week ago asked about the future of Phillies prospect Jason Jaramillo. To read more about Jaramillo, check this little bit of information out from (how perfect did this all come together for me at a time when I had no idea what to post - first the question in the comment section, then the news of the AQA thread at Minor League Ball, and then finally an article at about our man of the hour, Jaramillo. Isn't that perfect?). Anyway, here is what I wrote from a while back about Jaramillo - keep in mind I only kind of sort of barely know what I'm talking about here...much like the way I talk about the Phillies and baseball in general. I'm no expert (far from it) just some random guy who talks a lot. Just gotta throw that out there for my own peace of mind before you read on. One last thing...comparing Jaramillo to some of the Braves prospects makes sense in the context of the comment; I thought about editing that part out, but decided to leave it as I still like the Jaramillo/Pena comparison.

Jason Jaramillo, C, Philadelphia Phillies - 23 years old, expected to start 2006 in AA Reading

Jaramillo has been a far more impressive hitter than I expected. He has shown good contact ability and surprising gap power. His defense is so good that he won't have to hit a ton to reach the majors some day - an optimistic projection would be something along the lines of a .280 hitter with 10 homers and 25 doubles or so. This year is the big test for him as he is a prospect with plenty of college experience and was somewhat expected to handle the transition to the pros like he did. Now he has to deal with AA pitching at some point in '06 and see if his early professional progress with the bat was real or not.

Jaramillo is 23 year old and should move quickly through the system. If he spent the majority of '06 in AA with maybe a late season call up to AAA, I'd be happy. With a good 2006 season, he should be in the mix in 2007 for what should be a wide open Phils starting catching spot.

The more I think about it, the more I think that Brayan Pena is an interesting comparison to Jaramillo. Pena was a 22-year old in AA in 2004 - he hit an impressive enough .314/.349/.401. Jaramillo would do well to do the same in AA as a 23-year old in '06. Check out JJ's career minor league line so far - .290/.355/.410. That's very similar to Pena's AA season, not to mention his overall minor league line (.304/.357/.387).

Jaramillo and Pena are both good defensive catchers though I'd put Jaramillo in a different class though, as he is supposedly a plus-plus defender. Pena strikes out less than JJ, but doesn't quite have the power potential Jaramillo has either. They are both switch hitters with similar builds and should both have long careers in the major leagues one way or another. The big difference could be opportunity - as stated earlier, Jaramillo could have a shot to make the team and contribute in '07. Pena is blocked or surrounded in the Braves organization by Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Max Ramirez...even Todd Pratt at the big league level.

I haven't had a chance to see Jaramillo live and in color yet, but with his likely starting point Reading in '06, I'm planning to see plenty of him this upcoming season. Hopefully, the first hand observations will make their way to this site and whatever insight I can provide about Jaramillo's game will be of some use...or an entertaining read at the very least.


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