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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

“Behind the dish with Salty”

By Paul Gierhart

I am really amazed by the size and ability of baseball talent recently coming out of the high school ranks.  For a young man to be committed heart and soul, to the great game of baseball and have the talent to back it, makes today’s major league scouts’ job easier.

Schuyler Dombroske’s 2003 Top 10 Prospects for the Atlanta Braves was a great evaluation of the up-and-coming talent in the Braves organization.  I wish I could write as smoothly as Dombroske does.  But one player missing from the 2003 Top 10 Prospects for the Atlanta Braves was a 2003 supplemental 1st round draft pick.  This Floridian has been described by scout as having a comparable frame to a young Javy Lopez.  Beckett Baseball “The Rookie Issue”, claims this prospect is best compared to Boston Red Sox’s catcher Jason Veritek.  His 2003 numbers were not the most impressive (.239 - 2 - 14 in 134 AB at Gulf Coast League), but to be able to hit from both sides of the plate, and with a 6’-2”, 205 lb frame, makes one look a little harder.  With that second glance one will see a polished catcher, with an ability to play third base, smart, aggressive and a natural leader on and off the field.  This young man is one to watch in the future.  I’m very please to bring you an interview with the pride of Royal Palm Beach High School (West Palm Beach, FL), Jarrod Saltalamacchia.


1)        In an article about you that I read, you said “It’s a dream come true to be drafted by the Braves.  My brother and I have always watched the Braves on television.”  What are your earliest recollections of Atlanta Brave players & games attended?  Did your brother and you collect Atlanta Braves memorabilia as kids?

a.       My brother got to go to spring training games because the Braves were here in West Palm Beach.  He has a baseball autographed by Dale Murphy and Bob Horner.  I was too young at the time.  We have enjoyed watching Chipper Jones over the years and I guess my most memorable recollection was when the Braves won the World Series.

2)       Up to your high school career, what baseball experience(s) have you had?  Any special teams stick out in your mind?

a.        2001 USA Junior Olympic Baseball Championships Gold Medal Winner with Team Florida USA.

b.      2001 USA Youth National Team 

c.       2002 USA Junior National Team

3)       How would you describe your high school career at Royal Palm Beach HS in Florida?  Were there any special coaches or teammates that left an impression with you on how you will approach the pro game?

a.       Both fun and challenging.  Playing baseball is my love and not all of my high school teammates shared that love which was a little frustrating but I was lucky to have a coach and a friend in Coach Bush who taught me a lot about leadership on and off the field.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to play for Coach Valiente who was RPBHS first Baseball Coach or Coach Gonzalez who is the present Coach but they helped me by listening and providing good advice.

4)       Outside of the high school game, did you display your baseball talent through any other venue?

a.       Yes. Participated in numerous “Perfect Game” and “TeamOne” Showcases and Tournaments throughout the country.

5)       What role has your family played in your baseball career?

a.       My family has always been involved with me through my baseball career and their support means everything to me.

6)       What was your private workout with the Braves scout last May (2003) like?

a.       Fun and exciting. I felt very comfortable with the Braves organization.

7)       What thoughts/emotions did you experience before, during and after the June 2003 draft?  How hard was the decision to sign with the Braves over continuing your baseball career at Florida State?

a.       Before the draft I was unsure of what was going to happen, during the draft it was agonizing because we lost audio feed and I had no way of knowing what was going on.  We got audio back about two picks before they called my name then everything went crazy at my house, the phone started ringing off the hook and reporters showed up so by the end of the draft I was very happy.  I have been a FSU fan all my life and I was looking forward to playing for Coach Martin and Coach Shoupe but it has always been a dream to play professional baseball and I didn’t want to give up a chance to play at that level.

8)       After signing with the Braves did you experience any pro ball in their minor league system?  What have been your experiences since signing with the Braves?

a.       Yes. Played in the Gulf Coast League. Had 46 starts behind the dish, 134 AB with 32 hits, 11 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR (all in August) 14 RBI, 28 BB and 33 K’s. Finished with a .239 BA but the catching instruction I got was invaluable.

b.      Won the Gulf Coast League Championship for the first time.

c.       The Braves are a first class organization with a great staff that really care about there players well being and future.

9)       What aspects of your game do you feel you need to work on and what is your off season training like?

a.       I feel I always need to work on all aspects of my game, off season I worked hard concentrating on hitting and catching drills.

10)   What is your attitude towards in-person and through-the-mail autograph seekers?

a.       I feel amazed and honored that anyone would want my autograph. I get a lot of letters from kids that want my autograph and I try to write back to each one and give them an autographed BB card.

11)   Outside of baseball what are your likes and dislikes?

a.       Spending time with friends and family are my likes and having too much time off without playing baseball is my dislike.

12)   Complete this sentence…When I’m not playing baseball, you would find me

a.       Out with friends or playing golf.


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