Brian Jerololoman is back with the Fisher Cats for a third season. After a good start in 2008, Jeroloman had a disappointing 2009 season but has started strongly in 2010. I spoke with Brian in Erie last week to discuss his history with the Fisher Cats.
BB: After a good start in AA in 2008, 2009 was a disappointment. What do you put that down to?
BJ: It was just one of those seasons that you hope just never happens. Things started out well, I started out pretty hot, swinging the bat well. You know this is a pure mental game, a lot of it has to do with your mental part of the game, and I let it get to my head a little bit. It's not that I didn't perform, I came out and played every day but it was a tough circumstance and with about a month and a half to go I tore my hip. I am one of those guys who likes to play through injuries, unless you take me off in a stretcher I am not coming out of the game, so I tried to play through it and the numbers weren't there at the end of the year.
BB: So what is the difference this year?
BJ: I am a lot more confident stepping to the plate. Every year of experience you get, every time you go to big league camp, you learn something every time you play. You get a little smarter at the game. Offensively I am more confident, more aggressive. I am still getting my walks, still striking out, when you are more aggressive you are going to strike out more. With two strikes I am still putting swings on baseballs like it's two and oh. It's more of a confidence issue, I am a lot more confident and the mental part of my game is great and I have some great hitting coaches to along with it. I can't take all the credit they have been there to help me out a lot.
BB: And you got off to a hot start this season but you have kept it going. Just keep doing it, is that the approach?
BJ: I had a really good off-season, I recovered from the hip operation, I had a mis-shaped hip so they fixed that as well with the torn labrum in my left hip. Coming out this year I felt like a new guy and it's like a new page. Last year was last year, forget the past and this year start a new chapter and I felt great coming out of spring training and it is just push forward through the season.
BB: I see you have six home runs so far this season, tied with your career high. What accounts for the power?
BJ: I am just putting better swings on the baseball. Having a better approach at the plate and being a little more selective and aggressive at the same time. When I get my pitch to hit I can't miss it and foul it off. That is the difference between a good hitter and a great hitter, when you get your pitch to hit you can't miss it. That's the biggest difference between guys here and guys with the big team. I didn't hit one home run at home last year and this year in my first at-bat at home I hit a home run. So I got that monkey off my back but having the confidence of the coaches helps out my mental part of the game.
BB: So do you have any expectations for 2010? Do you hope to make it to AAA?
BJ: You just have to keep doing what you are doing. I just have to keep going to the park and playing the best that I can and hopefully good things will happen.
BB: While I have you can I ask you about some pitchers. Danny Farquhar is not having as good a 2010 as 2009, what is the difference?
BJ: Nothing. To me he has big league stuff. He is a freak of nature in a way. It's just there have been some weird circumstances where some hitters put some good swings on him but he throws quality pitches and sometimes the hitter wins. But when the game is on the line we still want Danny in the game.
BB: One more, Zach Stewart, started slow but over his last several starts he has been a lot better.
BJ: He has and I love catching both those guys. Stewart is a bulldog on the mound, he goes right after you. What I love about him is say he gives up a home run on a fastball inside, the next time the guy comes up he is here is the same pitch, hit it again. He doesn't back down from anybody, he has great stuff. He is a bulldog on the mound and as a catcher I love seeing that in my pitcher.
Batters Box thanks Brian Jeroloman for his time.