Joe Mauer has his MVP award, looming $100-million contract extension, and the cover of MLB The Show 2010.
Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek form a formidable backstop platoon for the 2010 Red Sox.
They all started somewhere.
These are the outsiders looking in who get to catch guys like John Lackey and Josh Beckett for a month before being tendered a contract and hoping for more or getting the cold shoulder and packing their bags.
Although suspended for much of the 2007 season for disciplinary issues, Luis Exposito has since turned that around and demonstrated a much more mature attitude.
The 23-year-old catcher out of St. Petersburg College has advanced through the Red Sox farm system nicely since being picked up in the 31st round of the 2005 draft.
Following decent offensive stints with the Lowell Spinners (A-), Greenville Drive (A), Lancaster JetHawks (A+), and the Salem Red Sox (A+), Exposito posted impressive numbers during his most recent assignment with the 2009 Portland Sea Dogs (AA).
Over just 23 games in Portland, Exposito hit .337 with an .860 OPS.
While his catching and fielding could use some targeted honing, Exposito seems ready not only to advance but also to thrive on the next rung of the minors’ ladder.
If he can impress this spring, Exposito could find himself in Triple A by midsummer.
Hometown: La Guaira, Venezuela
Only signed to a minor league contract with the Red Sox on January 29, 2010, Gustavo Molina seems a pure depth provision at the catching position.
In limited at bats, the 28-year-old Venezuelan owns a lemon-like buck-eighteen average, but that meager number doesn’t provide an entirely accurate picture of Molina’s offensive ability.
Signing with the 2000 White Sox organization as an undrafted free agent, Molina advanced to their Triple A club before being claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles at the 2007 trade deadline.
Suddenly given new offensive life, Molina surged for the Orioles’ Double A Bowie affiliate and batted a career-high .364 with an .803 OPS.
Since that time, Molina has unfortunately posted only marginal offensive numbers during time with the Mets and Nationals.
Not being a member of the famed “Catching Molinas,” Gustavo cannot make up for what he lacks offensively by gunning down runners or calling no hitters.
At his best, Molina will spend the year with the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA), post career numbers, and receive a MLB call up only if better catchers drop like bloop singles before him.