Maybe Jarrod Saltalamacchia won't be in the MVP discussion when all is said and done, but he might be win the award for the Most Underrated Player. He's quietly been improving in every aspect of his game and he's been one of our most valuable players. Nowhere was this more evident then in the 14 inning win on Monday. He caught the whole game and also got 4 hits, 2 of which were RBI singles in extra innings. That's pretty impressive, since catcher is probably the toughest position to play because of the stamina required.
So what's his secret? A simplified approach, Salty told MLB.com. That seems to be working so far. Last year, he hit 25 homers, but he also struck out 139 times in 405 at-bats and he only hit .222 according to MLB.com. This year, Salty has been much better at the plate so far, hitting at .285 with 8 homers and 25 RBI's. Salty told MLB.com that he was trying to do too much with the ball and would end up swinging at bad pitches last year. That's been one of the best adjustments he's made so far this year, but he's been just as impressive behind the plate. John Lackey told MLB.com that Salty has been huge for him behind the plate and helping him execute a game plan.
Anyone else reminded of what pitchers used to say about Jason Varitek? I always felt that the C on his jersey should have covered the whole thing because of his presence behind the plate. I feel that Saltalamacchia is starting to morph into that kind of catcher for us, and that is big. He's not on Tek's level yet, but he's definitely on the right track.