April 21, 2014
Catcher Jorge Saez never imagined that one day he’d be playing for a professional baseball team. In fact, when the draft was happening in 2012, Saez could no longer wait and watch the rounds fly by, and was at the pool when he found out he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 32nd round.
“I was between going to summer ball or waiting for the call,” stated Saez. “I couldn’t wait anymore, so I went to the pool. I don’t think my phone was down for even five minutes, but when I returned to it, I had so many messages of congratulations. I jumped high into the air and was incredibly excited. I couldn’t wait to get started.
After starting his season in GCL and finding success last year with Bluefield, Saez made the jump to the Lansing Lugnuts in 2014. He has made an instant impact in Lansing, batting .286 with three doubles and four RBIs.
He’s swinging the bat really well and playing great defense behind the plate.
“Lansing is a great city,” stated Saez. “It has a really nice ballpark and we’re right in the middle of downtown. The state capital is right by us. I drive by it every day to get to the stadium and back to my apartment.”
While the city is scenic and historic, the young catcher admits that one of the city’s greatest advantages is the team’s coaching staff. Saez especially enjoying working with and learning from Lugnuts hitting coach Ken Huckaby. The two were together in Bluefield in 2013 and he feels he has been learning a lot from the former Big League backstop.
“The thing I like the best about Huckaby is he has a good reputation. That aspect is very important, because if you can’t get along with a guy, it’s going to be a long year.
“I relate to him being a catcher. He’s a little different than me, because he’s a lot bigger than I am, but I’ve learned a lot from him. I definitely like the way he approached the game like a warrior. That’s not all I’ve taken from him, but catching is such a grueling position and you need that mindset. If you don’t have that mindset, you might as well forget the little things and that’s the one thing he excelled at and I feel I take that from him.”
Huckaby also enjoys the development he’s seen from Saez, admitting the prospect is an excellent defender with a good bat.
“I think Jorge is doing a really good job right now,” stated Huckaby. “He’s swinging the bat really well and playing great defense behind the plate.”
In addition to the coaching staff, Saez admits that the other role models in his life are certainly his parents. In fact, he admitted to learning a lot about the game from his father, Jorge Sr, who was his first coach as a child.
“My mom taught me it was a game and taught me the importance of going about it easy and enjoying it,” said Saez. “My dad was great, because he was very upfront with me and told me if I played a bad game. If I played well he’d say good job keep it up, but he wasn’t too strict with me at baseball. My Dad is very optimistic and that’s what I take from him.”
His favorite baseball memories are attending Marlins games together as a family. The catcher fondly recalls the Marlins World Series championships. “1997 and 2003 were magical years for me,” Saez recalls. “I was at all three home games of the 2003 World Series and my Dad was at game 7 of the 1997 World Series when Edgar Renteria won the game on a walk off single in extra innings.”
There is no doubt that Saez dreams of being on a World Series winning team. So far, he seems to be headed in the right direction for getting that chance.
Watch for Jorge Saez as he continues to play the game he loves.