FanPost

Sox only need a Salt(y) shaker


If you think this is a terrible title to a mediocre article, you would be write, but it gets the point across. Although in a sense, really doesn't. Contradiction what? Because having a guy like David Ross backing up Jarrod Saltalamacchia is almost a perfect complement to a player with Salty's skills. But as we all know, through no statistical evidence whatsoever, the salt shaker is used much more often than the pepper shaker. If I am eating broccoli, I want to douse it with salt to make it taste as little like broccoli as possible. The pepper? I could take it or leave it.

I digress. Kind of like my life, as well.

But what more could you ask for --overall -- out of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He's supposedly the opposite of an above-average defensive catcher. But his offense has more than made up for that this season. His OPS is creeping up on .900 (.872). And although OPS is just a nice little number to attempt to make a valid point, an .872 OPS is good. Regardless of position. And since Saltalamacchia plays catcher, that OPS is very, very good. Sure, it's Slugging heavy, and slugging percentage is less important than on base percentage, but his slugging is .523 (!). That's second to only Evan Gattis in all of baseball, among players with at least 170 plate appearances.

From a fan's standpoint, Salty can be frustrating. He strikes out all the time. ALL THE TIME. 33 percent of his plate appearances result in whiffs and him walking back in shame to the Red Sox dugout. But when he makes contact he does damage. He'll never be a high on base percentage guy, but if he keeps his contact rate as it is now or better (as it has been in previous years), his average should be high enough to at least let him provide value to the team.

So to the obvious, Salty's .285 average so far this season is far higher than it has ever been in any season in his career. His .406 "batting average on balls in play" is ridiculous, and not sustainable by any means. As mentioned, he is striking out more than ever. So what gives? Is this all luck? Not really. His line drive percentage is at 31 percent. When he hits the ball, he hits it hard. For whatever reason, his balls in play aren't all just seeing-eye singles. They are legit hits. He's already hit seventeen doubles. He's added 8 homers. 0 triples. But that last category is simply a knock on Saltalamacchia's inability to run well.

By all accounts, Saltalamacchia has at least improved his proficiency behind the plate, even if it may not be even average. I'm not going to go into any catching defensive metrics, because, well, I just don't trust them yet.

So by being patient, and holding on to current ace Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox have the 10th ranked catcher via fWAR, with 1.4 wins. They have a backup that is very capable behind the plate and can hit a little too. And they have a catcher, who may not be able to actually CATCH waiting in the minor leagues in Ryan Lavarnaway. But he could fill in sparingly if needed as of now.

I'd have to say that the Sox are pretty well off at the catcher position right now.

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