With the offseason in full swing now, it's time to look back at a special season and evaluate the players. Under the microscope today is catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia had his best season as a member of the Red Sox to date. He had a slash line of .273/.466/.804 according to ESPN and he also displayed some pop, hitting 14 home runs and 40 doubles. His defense wasn't always the best, but he got the Red Sox pitching staff. That's ultimately is what makes or breaks a catcher. He did well for the most part with the pitching staff. He was also nowhere to be found in the playoffs, hitting under .200 in the playoffs. He ended up veing benched for the last 3 games of the World Series.
2013 REGULAR SEASON:
The regular season was the strong point for Salty. As I mentioned before, he put up his best numbers as a member of the Red Sox. Further breakdown shows that Salty did much better against right-handed pitchers than lefties. He hit .294 against righties in 306 AB's according to ESPN, but he also had 103 strikeouts against righties. On the flipside of that, he put up his better power numbers as a left-handed batter. 34 of 40 doubles came as a lefty and 12 of 14 home runs were hit left handed. Maybe he should copy Shane Victorino and just hit lefty full time? But, one of Salty's biggest assets this season was his understanding of the pitching staff. David Ross did just as well, if not better, in this category, but Salty also did pretty well. That understanding is important, or the Sox don't get as far as we did. His problem at the plate is he's either hitting it off the Green Monster or he's striking out (he had 139 this season).
Regular Season Grade: B
As I mentioned, Salty was nowhere to be to be found. He was 6 - 32 in the playoffs for a measly .188 average. He did have his moment, though. He had the walk off hit in game 2 of the ALCS. Other than that, he did absolutely nothing at the plate. He did almost cost us the World Series, though. He was heavily involved in both plays that led to us to lose games 2 and 3 of the World Series. In no way does he get 100% of the blame, but he bears his fair share of the blame on both plays.
Postseason Grade: D-
2014 Prediction: I'd like to see him stay, but the likely scenario to me is that the Sox let him walk and let David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway take over for next season.
Overall Grade: C
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