The guy always seems to be in a good mood, laughing and smiling, which is just about perfect for your clubhouse, dugout, and at mound visits. The first catcher to break the Top 40 on our countdown, Jett Bandy. Bandy is very well liked by his coaches and teammates, and is liked by us here at InsideTheHalos.com as well. So much so, that one of our voters had him as high as #11 on their voting list.
The most important part of being a catcher is your communication with pitchers and ability to call a game. Of course, the first people you go to when you look for these? Pitchers, coaches, and managers.
"I'm different so it's harder for someone to adjust to me... I had a good connection with Bandy last year, but I felt like it could've been a little better. It was just a little harder for to him to adjust to me."
"Bandy and I worked perfect together. He knew me, what pitches worked well in what count and what didn't. If he said fastball, I threw a fastball. It was a good connection."
Obviously not every catcher will work well with each pitcher, but Bandy has started to gain an ability to work with each pitcher differently and start adjusting. With some development, Bandy could become an excellent play caller behind the plate.
Defensively, Bandy is above average. His arm strength is average but his release is far above average, which has been his advantage to throwing out potential base stealers. Bandy has good positioning as well, not allowing many pitches to sneak past him in the dirt.
When it comes to being at the plate offensively, Bandy is a standard catcher. He has a quick swing but not a very powerful swing. One good thing about Bandy is he puts the ball in play often, not striking out much, but also not walking a lot either. If Bandy can work on good contact as opposed to just contact, he could actually become a very good bat late in any order.
Jett Bandy's first professional season was... well, incredible! After being drafted in the 31st round of the 2011 Draft, he was sent about six hours East of his hometown of Thousand Oaks, California, and about two hours East of his college (University of Arizona) to play in the Arizona Rookie League, where he was an offensive force.
Bandy rode a batting average above .300 the entire 50 games he played, toting a .308/.392/.492 line by the end of his 2011 season. Bandy also struck out just over 10% of his plate appearances, which is incredible for a rookie just becoming a professional. Bandy even had decent power numbers putting up five home runs, 19 doubles, and 32 RBIs. Bandy played four games outside of AZL, one at Triple-A, and one with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers where he went 1-for-2 with a solo home run.
2012, Bandy came down to earth statistically in High-A, but still proved that he can be a dominant defensive and offensive catcher, batting .247/.318/.386, changing his swing a little to add just a little more pop at the plate.
2013, Jett Bandy spent the entire season in Double-A, and picked up his defensive game with a .991 defensive fielding percentage, a career high by four points. Not only did his defensive percentage pickup, but also his arm, throwing out 32% of potential base stealers. His bat stayed consistent at a new level, which is something every scout, coach, and fan love to see. One giant thing for Bandy is that against left handed pitchers in 2013, he had a line of .305/.364/.441, and the Texas League had some of the best left-handed pitching prospects that it'd seen in many seasons of late, a tough group to hit that well against.
Bandy was given the chance to play in the 2013 Arizona Fall League as well. Bandy put up similar numbers to his regular season tear, but just about flip flopped his slant at the plate when it came to lefties and righties. Bandy in the AFL vs. right-handed pitchers: .296/.296/.481.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Jett Bandy is still the fourth ranked catcher in the Angels system behind Hank Conger, Chris Iannetta, and John Hester (pending no free agent moves). Carlos Ramirez has been around for awhile and may be deserving of a callup, but his bat just hasn't excelled in Double-A. With that, we expect Jett Bandy to spend 2014 with the Salt Lake Bees in Triple-A. It all depends on Bandy's success at the plate and how pitchers develop with him, but we do expect to see Bandy in the Majors. Time set is hard to select when it comes to catchers, but you could see Bandy in the Majors as soon as 2015, but it's probably more likely to see him there in 2016.
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