With Kelly Shoppach and Dioner Navarro, it was easy to pay no attention to John Jaso prior to the year. An injury provided him an opportunity and needless to say, he has made the most of it.
While Navarro has struggled (.184, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 8 R), Jaso has parlayed a hot bat into regular playing time (based on numbers earlier this week):
91 At Bats
.308 Batting Average (28 Hits)
2 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.418 On Base Percentage
.440 Slugging Percentage
.325 Batting Average on Balls in Play
He’s continued to see time in the middle of the lineup, but the run production has slowed down tremendously. Over his last seven games he’s gone 6-32 with just 1 RBI and 2 R. With the numbers Navarro has posted, that’s enough to keep him playing.
The real question is, which Jaso is the real one? The one who produced 18 RBI quickly? The one whose offensive production has subsided? Or is it somewhere in the middle?
He hasn’t shown much power and the truth is, you shouldn’t expect him to. Entering the year he had 59 career minor league home runs in 2,155 AB. That’s a home run every 36.5 AB. If you’re looking for power out of the catching position, you aren’t going to get it here.
He’s not going to have much speed, like most catchers, so we can brush over that.
Where his potential value lays is his average. Over his minor league career he hit .290, though it was significantly lower than that at Triple-A, where he’s hit .269.
He doesn’t strikeout much however (14.1% at Triple-A and 11.0% thus far in ’10), so a .300+ average is really not unbelievable. Yes, he’s been lucky, but it is a number that certainly is repeatable.
He simply has a good eye at the plate. Over his minor league career he has a walk rate of 12.1%, while since his recall he’s been at 15.5%.
Long-term, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him fall into the .285-.295 range. Both his strikeouts and walks have improved since joining the Rays, so seeing a regression there would be expected.
Still, if he can continue to hit and is slotted into the middle of the lineup (he’s had 24 AB hitting fifth), the RBI are going to come.
If you are in a two-catcher league and you have the potential to add a catcher with that type of average/RBI potential, he’s worth adding. He isn’t going to help you in the home run department, but many low-end catchers won’t. What he does do is more then enough, however.
What are your thoughts on Jaso? Is he a catcher worth using in two-catcher formats? Why or why not?
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