One of the biggest concerns we all had coming into this season was at catcher. Having made a half-hearted attempt at Russell Martin in the off-season, the Sox seemed content to trust the catching role to some linear combination of Saltalamacchia and Varitek. Seemed very risky (to put it mildly) and after the first 3 weeks of the season, when the offensive production the Sox were getting from the catcher position was the worst in the league (by a fair bit) these concerns seemed well founded. Lately, there has not been too much discussion of Salty/Tek in a negative way (a good sign). How does the tandem stack up at the half-way point?
Offensively, you might be suprised to know that the Sox have the second best production from the catcher spot in the AL. Here are the top 5 teams:
Rather amazingly, the Sox are the second best offensive team in the AL at the position. The Tigers, with Avila's amazing season, are a clear first. The Sox, after a fall off from the #1 spot, are a clear #2 in terms of wRC+ (only 4 teams have production from the position which ranks higher than or equal to position-neutral average).
Defensively no one would be surprised that the Sox are worse at C then they are offensively. However by WAR (something that should be taken with a grain of salt [no pun intended] for catchers), the Sox rank 4th overall, a shade behind the number 2 Indians (2.3 to 1.9). It is fair to assume that while the Sox catcher defense is weak, it is not a disaster and that in fact the Sox catchers have been about as valuable as any in the AL save the Tigers. Remarkable. Given some good fortune down the road (Salty continuing to develope, Lavarnway learning how to play D and Swihart signing) the Sox could go from a team with a paucity of catching talent to a team with a bright future at the position.