To use a Joe Maddonism, I’m “digging” John Jaso. You could make the argument that no Rays player has been better over the last ten games than Jaso. Considering the offensive tear this team is on, that’s a pretty strong statement.

Has Jaso been the best Ray? Decide for yourself:

Player A: .342 avg, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 10-8 BB-K ratio

Player B: .286 avg, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 8-15 BB-K ratio

Player C: .455 avg, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 9-1 BB-K ratio


Let me add some more numbers for you. Player A just signed a 181 million dollar extension.  Player B was the fifth player taken in the 2007 draft. Minnesota Twin’s Joe Mauer and Baltimore’s Matt Wieters are two of the highest ranking catchers and players in the MLB.  Mauer has the accolades, Wieters has the promise. Who wouldn’t love to have the stats of player A or B?

And how much does that make you love player C?

If you haven’t guessed it by now, player C is Jaso. Not only has Jaso been among the best Rays performers, he’s among the best in baseball in this short stretch.  Despite missing the first two weeks of the season, Jaso leads all A.L. rookies in RBI.  Despite 50 less at bats, he is only one walk behind the ever-patient batting champ Mauer.

And he’s doing it all from the No. 8 position in the lineup.

Mauer and Wieters hit at the top of the order, and yet Jaso has become Mr. RBI for Tampa Bay.  Sure, this could just be a fad or a quick start—it has to be.  No one hits over .400 unless your name rhymes with Ned and ends in Williams.

But there are some reasons to believe he won’t fade off quickly. Jaso had always been known for his bat in the minors. More importantly, he probably has the best eye at the plate of anyone to have come through the Tampa Bay system. Teams have been so worried about the top and middle of the Rays order, lately it has been Pat Burrell, Reid Brignac, and Jaso sending pitchers to the showers early.

Can Jaso keep any of this up? The key will be when teams start pitching differently to Jaso and how quickly he adjusts. But for now, he’s content to be the starting catcher on the hottest team in the majors.

It may be too early to be building shelves for future awards. But it’s never too early to be enjoying the ride.

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