Saltalamacchia

His last name barely fits on his jersey, he
couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher last year, and he’s only hit
twenty-three home runs in his career. Yet, Jarrod Saltalamacchia
 will be catching Josh Beckett, Jon
Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2011.



Jarrod Saltalamacchia was drafted by the
Atlanta Braves with the thirty-sixth pick in the 2003 draft, one pick before
Orioles all-star outfielder Adam Jones.

In 2006 with the braves class A
affiliate, the Rome Braves, Salty had his best year of his young career. He hit
.314, with nineteen home runs, and eighty-one runs batted in. After his
breakout season Baseball America ranked Saltalamacchia as the eighteenth best
prospect in Major League Baseball.

The following year, Saltalamacchia became
the starting catcher for the Mississippi Braves (AA). In twenty-two games,
Salty hit .373 with seven big flies.

The same year, in 2007 Saltalamacchia was
called up on his twenty-second birthday after an injury to Brian McCann and
then made his major league debut.

On July 31, 2007, also in the same year, Elvis
Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, and Saltalamacchia were
traded to the Texas Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay.

Fast-forward three years latter and
Saltalamacchia was put on the disabled list after the first two games of the
2010 season. He was then sent down to AAA because he couldn’t do one of the
simplest things in baseball. Eventually and thankfully, Salty learned how to
throw the ball back to the pitcher.

On July 31, 2010 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
was traded to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for
Chris McGuiness, Ramon Mendez, a player to be named later (Michael
Thomas), and some money. He was then sent to Pawtucket.

Saltalamacchia was eventually called up after
an injury to Kevin Cash. In his first appearance in the Red Sox starting line
up on August 12, Saltalamacchia went 2-4 with a run scored.

So far, in his time in Bean town, Salty went
just 3-19 (.158), with one RBI, two runs scored, and no home runs. Yet, despite
those stats, the Red Sox are letting Jarrod Saltalamacchia control one of the
best pitching staffs in baseball.


SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 15:  Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 15, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)



             It is still pretty unclear how much time Salty and ‘Tek will share behind the plate. The only things that are know are that Saltalamacchia is the starter and, “Varitek will play more then the average backup.”

            However, I think there is a decent shot that Varitek will become the starter at some point in the season, not do an injury. Salty is a player the Red Sox have high hopes for, but is still a work in process. There is no doubt that Salty will learn a lot this season. I mean how many other catchers have Jason Varitek as their mentor?

           In my opinion, Saltalamacchia will have the best year of his young career, both at and behind the plate. Salty will be in a lineup that includes six different all-stars. Pitchers aren’t going to want to pitch to Ortiz, Crawford, etc, meaning that Saltalamacchia will get more good pitchers to hit. Ohh and playing in Fenway Park will not hurt his numbers either.

Also as previously said, Jason Varitek will be Saltalamacchia’s mentor . . . and Varitek has A LOT of things he can teach Salty. Salty will have to be a fast learner if he is going to catch four starting pitchers who have been all-stars (and Dice-K).

Lastly, the thing that could potentially “make or break” this year for Saltalamacchia is the pressure. There have been many players who simply can’t handle the pressure playing in Boston. Then there are guys who embrace it and have their best seasons in Boston. Personally, I think Salty will be fine when it comes to dealing with the pressure this year, as most eyes will be on the new additions.

If the division race or even the ALCS comes down to the wire, it might be a guy whom no one has their eye on, like Salty, who pushes the Red Sox through.


Photo Credits:

1.) http://www.soxspacenews.com/article/498

2.) http://bleacherreport.com/articles/540535-reason-to-believe-what-do-the-red-sox-see-in-jarrod-saltalamacchia

2 Comments

I think Salty will benefit from having Varitek as a mentor and hitting in that lineup the Red Sox have. I hope he succeeds!

Ron

http://strictlycubsbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Always wondered what happened to your blog…Great to see you on the mound again in your sidebar photo.
Salty is going to be under some extreme pressure in Beantown to either perform or be gone.
With Jason Varitek basically on stand-by duty or as a teacher to Salty, the job is Salty’s to lose this Spring.
Hopefully he can throw the ball back to the mound, and possibly 90 feet to hit the Second Baseman’s mitt about 6 inches in front of the bag…..I guess we will see soon enough!

Rays Renegade
http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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