Who’s your catcher? – Ryan Lavarnway, Luis Exposito


Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito seem to have gaining competition as they progress  in the system. Both of these catchers have potential behind the plate. Both of these Catchers have potential at the plate and both of these catchers have been criticized extensively. Lavarnway has not been in the Red Sox system as long, Exposito had his minor league debut in 2006 and Lavarnway had his debut in 2008. Both starting in Lowell and moving on to Greenville, it was sure these guys, both with a solid build and a good presence behind the plate were going to make it big. Now, moving on to the 2011 season, both virtually at the same place in their career due to Exposito’s suspension in 2007 for disciplinary reasons, it is becoming a reasonable argument; Who’s going to get to Boston first, Lavarnway because of his consistent hitting or Exposito because of his strong arm and good instinct?  First, lets explore these players in depth.

Ryan Lavarnway played for yale for three years of his baseball career. For the first year, he was a catcher and a first basemen, however in 2007 he made the switch to a full time catcher. His defensive skills are strong, but he has a lot more work to do as a catcher. He has recently turned his unsteady slow motions to fluent fast motions. The unsteadiness and slowness I speak of is the mechanics of catching and throwing.The release of the ball when throwing to first or second needs to be a quick flick of the wrist, however Lavarnway’s approach allowed there to be some difficulty switching from the catching stance to the throwing position. In 2008, he missed all but 22 games for Lowell due to a wrist injury. With no doubt, he was back behind the plate the next year with team leading home runs in Greenville. In 2010, Lavarnway spent most of his time in Salem. Although, he appeared in 44 games for Portland. There is no point in re-explaining, Lavarnway’s true talent is offensively. Should he be a catcher? Yes, he doesn’t have the range to play the outfield or the agility to play first base. The only other option would be the DH position. Which is not a position that is smiled upon and would limit where he plays later on.

Luis Exposito has been in the Red Sox system since 2006. Highly talented catcher with a solid block behind the plate. The 2010 season was not an “outbreak season” or even a “great season” for Exposito, however, he did end up with team leading 94 Rbi’s and 11 home runs. Offensively, he has a strong and long swing and does not strike out too much. Again, the 2010 season is not a good season for comparing numbers. From what I have observed, the biggest issue Exposito will face before entering the majors, would be his attitude. Walking into the game has never been an issue, always has a smile, normally willing to wave and always has his head in the right place for “game on”. Enjoys teasing team mates and normally causes a few chuckles in the stands. After a few strike outs, or if the starting pitcher falls apart early, Exposito’s attitude changes dramatically. No smile, no waving, and no team spirit. Losing this positivity could be the difference between a win and loss. Aside from this, his strong arm, good instinct and accuracy will get him in the majors quickly.

Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito both are talented in different ways. This decision is not an easy one for the average person. I honestly, spent more time watching Exposito in the minors and see great things coming from him in the future. The experience Exposito is holding over Lavarway’s head is going to be the thing that separates them as catchers. There is a chance larger than great Exposito will make the switch to Pawtucket before Lavarnway. In order to make a proper decision, I would suggest reading more on their past and learning the differences in depth before making the final decision on who will be the catcher you cheer for!