I like to think that the people who run baseball organizations are all smarter than me. This idea gives me comfort when it comes to prospects and moves and whatnot – the higher ups, scouts, and people in the know are just better informed. So when I look at Jarrod Saltalamacchia, I am perplexed. On the one hand, my Red Sox bias begins to take over: “sure he’ll hit, there’s a reason the Bravos were so high on him,” I tell myself. On another hand, he will share time with Jason Varitek. On yet another hand, presumably someone else’s (don’t get any ideas), he hasn’t hit above .270 in the majors. All this weighs heavy on my considerable brain. But as TO might say, if it looks like a catcher and smells like a catcher, by golly, it’s a catcher.
First things first: there has to be something there. Scouts from multiple organizations can’t be totally off on a guy, right? Let’s talk about the minors – the pedigree is there… back in 2007. A .309 ISO in AA???? WOW. Scouts all saw/see Salty as a potential 20-30 homer guy. Now we may have to concede at this point that he will not be a .300 hitter. Not many catchers are. The power is legit. So is the fact that he swings the stick from both sides of the plate. A catcher, with power, who also switch hits? Sounds like a recipe for success to me. Only it hasn’t quite worked out like that for Jarrod.
The situation for Salty is ripe for a comeback, though. He’s playing in a great hitters’ park in Fenway. He doesn’t have the same pressures he once did as a hyped rookie. Heck, he won’t eve be asked to catch 150 games, Tek will likely get a lot of AB’s too. So why Salty? The power. Bill James and I are on the same path with this one. he has Jarrod hitting 12 homers in 110 games (371 PA). That’s a good number of homers for infrequent at-bats. I’ll argue that given those times in the box (and probably closer to 400 PA than 350 – V-Tek, sorry but you’re old), Salty can provide in the high teens for round-trippers. Now tell me how many fantasy catchers are good for that? How many that you can get in the last round? I’ve been of the belief that there are maybe 3 catchers worth owning if you have to draft them above the 15th round. 5, now, because of Posey and Santana. After that, you might as well wait until the end of a draft to snag someone. I offer that it’s time for Salty to put up, and time for you to take one last flier on him.
Short and sweet, but that’s the point. No numbers really, just time for Salty to put up or shut up.