I've been struggling to stay a fan. I've been watching you play every game all season and I have a few things I would like to say to you. They aren't bad things, just a few things I've noticed. I'm sure you are well aware of these things, but if you aren't, I hope you get to read this and take some things to heart.
- You set your target to high. This is something I've been debating for several weeks. However, after watching this weekend, you routinely set your target at the mid-thigh level. Of course, we all know that the easiest ball to hit in baseball is a ball sitting waist high. Your targets are dangerously close to this and I think it would be great if you could remember to get your target to the bottom of the knees. Especially with a pitcher who is spot on with his fastball. Yesterday with S'OS, you got the target up a few times, and guess what. He hit the spot and the ball got hit hard. But he hit the spot, most people are under the impression that if you spot up you will be fine. Not if the spot is in a hitting zone, so please, Jason, I plead you to lower your targets.
- Please make some changes in your pitch calling. Zack got crushed tonight by Mauer after throwing a third straight fastball in. You cannot beat Major League hitters by throwing the same pitch three times in a row and in the same spot. Maybe if it was a weaker hitter, and it was his first AB of a game, but not Joe Mauer. MVP? Dude, you hung out with him in Cabo. Another example was Valencio's second AB. Zack got ahead with two 96 mph fastballs, threw a curve at 70ish, and then a slider around 85 that got slapped into right field for a double. Now, Jose should have caught the ball, or at least held Valencio to a single, but he didn't. The problem is Valencio was able to stay on the offspeed. You went extreme to extreme which is great. But then you went to intermediate. If I was late on the fastball, and then early on the curveball, what would possess you to throw the pitch that is the exact inbetween? You slowed the bat down and speed the bat up. Go back to the extreme on that pitch. Go hard in. Then throw the slider if the guy is still up. But instead, we allowed a young hitter to beat our Cy Young winner because we gave him a clean chance, so please Jason, mix up your pitch calling.
- The last thing I would like to say to you Jason, is that you've gotten somewhat lazy on your framing. You must adhere to the basic principles of catching. Beat the ball to the spot, catch the ball in the middle of your body. Please do some swaying with the pitch. Please beat the ball to the spot. And once you do both of those, you will get some more strike calls. Recently, you've made some really good pitches look poor, and it has to do with the framing. One thing I've watched catchers do is this: start farther out and sway into the plate making the pitch look better than it was. Perhaps you want to try this old trick. It may be that you are just tired after all the games you've caught which I have no problem with, but if that's the case, let's get it fixed and get back on top of your game.
Long story short, I appreciate your veteran presence and your love for the game. I hope that you can make one or two or all three of these adjustments and that you have a prosperous career for the rest of your time in Kansas City.