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Today’s Oakland A’s player of the day is John Jaso. I had my doubts about this guy when he first became an Oakland A, but by the end of the season he had proved me wrong. Let’s take a look at why that is.
Jaso was better on offense than he was on defense. His strength that kept him on the team was his bat. Jaso may not have gotten the recognition he deserved, but he was instrumental in keeping the team afloat during their rough stretches. When the rest of the team would struggle, Jaso didn’t put up all star numbers but he did put in good enough numbers to help the team squeak by. He’d get his hit or two in a game, but those hits were usually important ones that led to runs. Let’s look at his numbers. He batted for an average of .271. The important numbers, however, are these; He had 56 hits. In those 56 hits, 31 resulted in runs and 21 resulted in RBI’s. Keep In mind he only had 207 At Bats. So when we look at those numbers we see that Jaso really is an impact player. He consistently gets hits, and when he hits he makes sure they count.
Defense was Jaso’s weak spot. He was often criticized for not being as defensively skilled as the other catchers on the roster. Fans often felt safer when Norris or Vogt were behind the plate rather than Jaso. Let’s look at his defense numbers. In only 48 games, he allowed 5 passed balls. Passed balls result in stolen bases and when runners are on third, that means runs. If Jaso was an everyday catcher, at that pace he would have about 20 passed balls in the span of 162 games. While he wouldn’t be starting everyday and would most likely be platooning, that is still way too many passed balls. He isn’t as bad as some make him out to seem though. He had 269 put outs and for the most part could make all the routine plays you need a catcher to make. Jaso might have been able to make a stronger case defensively if he hadn’t gotten a concussion that ended his season early.
With two other catchers on the roster, Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt, there is a theory going around that Jaso will spend most of his time at the designated hitter position. I for one, think Jaso will be the main DH, but will have a lot of days off when someone like Coco needs a break and will be inserted at as the DH in the lineup. Melvin likes to give players half days off by putting them in the lineup as the DH, so Jaso will mainly be a DH, but other players will fill in as well.
In 2014, I predict that Jaso won’t see too much playing time behind the plate. He is a great catcher to have on the bench as a reserve, but Norris and Vogt will have most of the playing time at the catcher position. Jaso will see his playing time if one of them lands on the DL or is going through a rough patch. Most of Jaso’s time will be at DH, where his strength is at, on offense.
Jaso is a great Offensive Player, but his defense is what might lead to him being the odd man out when the seasons rolls around. This will result with him at DH but not behind the plate. That is how he is best utilized and Melvin knows how to utilize his players better than any other manager out there.