In only his third year as minor league player, catcher Jett Bandy joins the Travelers after being drafted in the 31st round of the 2011 draft after his junior year from the University of Arizona. Early in the season, he played the majority of the games but now that Carlos Ramirez has been activated off the restricted list, Bandy will split time with him. Through 42 games, he is batting .250 with 12 doubles, one home run, one triple and 13 RBIs.
It’s been said you are one of the cutups in the clubhouse. Do you agree?
Yes, I like to stay loose and make jokes and make everyone laugh.
During your sophomore year, you started catching. How do you like it?
I like catching because I like being a part of the game and having a lot to do with winning or losing. I also like being the guy in charge, and what I really like is I can see the whole field.
So, how do you manage the pitchers?
You have to know your guys. Some guys you can go out and make jokes while other guys, you have to stroke them and tell them they are O.K. Other guys, you have to jump on them all the time. It’s all about reading people. Sometimes it’s like a video game, and when the pitcher is struggling, you have to get your guy going.
What about the umpires, how do you deal with them?
Interesting, I’ve never been asked that question. I’m good at names and always remember names. It’s all about you deal with them, and you have to be nice to them. If I don’t agree with a call, I ask them about it the right way and usually they say they will take a better look. I also have fun with them, but if they keep missing a call, I’ll explain it. But, you have to go about it the right way.
Do you like when guys try to steal bases?
I love it and want them to run. If they run, I’m going to throw them out. It’s all about catch and play.
Do you call pitches? If so, explain the process.
I do call pitches and you have to know your pitchers’ strengths. You have to think about what side of the plate the fastball is on, what pitches they have and how the hitter is swinging. There is a whole bunch of stuff. Mentally, you have to know who is on deck, the matchups like a left-handed batter against a right-handed pitcher and if a base is open. Plus, you have to block the ball properly. Your wheels are always turning.
What about your offense?
As a catcher, it is all defense — blocking and throwing guys outs — calling a good game and winning the game. Offense and defense are two separate things, and that has been the hardest adjustment for me.
What was your thought process signing after your junior year?
I felt like I was ready for pro ball as a junior. I made the right choice. But if I would have stayed, I would have won a national championship as Arizona won what would have been my senior year.