September 17, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Catching Up: Prospects, Free Agents and The Regulars

So our writer’s have weighed in on Boston’s catching situation. Conor Duffy took you through Boston’s catching prospects Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez in his post The Bright Future: Red Sox Top Catching Prospects.

Patrick Cavanaugh followed up with his piece Should The Red Sox Stick With Salty and Lavarnway or Do Some Shopping?

Fan John Fahrar commented on Cavanaugh’s post: “Martin (Yankees catcher Russell Martin) would be an upgrade over Saltalamacchia. Average is kind of crappy, but he draws more walks and is a much better catcher defensively.” Although I have to agree with Fahrar in some respects, if Russell Martin is a potential solid replacement (.211 BA, 53 walks as opposed to Salty’s 38 and a .311 OBP against Salty’s .288) for Saltalamacchia then good catching is more paper thin than I thought.

The articles and  the comment are telling. From a personal perspective, Boston’s catching prospects across the board are not inspiring. There are no Carlton Fisks and Jason Variteks within the organization and there are no Mike Napolis circa 2008 who are willing and and able to make a big impact.

From an offensive perspective I’m thinking the Tiger’s Gerald Laird. True, he played in only 63 games in 2012 but he did catch for a team that went to the World Series and had a slash line of .282/.337/.710. His defensive stats leave a lot to be desired, once again underscoring the lack of available quality catching across the board.

September 17, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway (60) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

For the foreseeable future Boston’s catching situation will be a tenuous patchwork quilt. Jarrod Saltalamacchia batted .222 and struck out 139 times in 2012. 80 runners stole on Salty in 2012, third only surprisingly to the Giant’s Buster Posey (87) and, not surprisingly, the Pirates’ Rod Barajas (93).

Ryan Lavarnway was a mess at the plate last season. In 153 at bats over 46 games, he struck out 41 times and batted .157. Over a 162 game schedule that’s 144 Ks. That’s no Adam Dunn – a staggering 222 Ks in 2012 – but the extrapolated numbers would put him in the top 25 strike out leaders, a category for which you do not want to be known.

Prospects are just that – prospects. Both Swihart and Vazquez are young and have plenty of headroom but are both not fast-tracking to break into the Sox lineup any time soon.

Prediction: Salty and Lavarnway will be the every day catchers on opening day when Boston open in the Bronx on April 1.

It’s the same old story
Same old song and dance my friend
- Same Old Song and Dance, Aerosmith 

Tags: Boston Red Sox Catchers

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