PawSox Progress Report: Saltalamacchia vs. Lavarnway

Ethan NemkovichContributor IIJuly 22, 2011

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Ryan Lavarnway #83 of the Boston Red Sox poses for a portrait during the Boston Red Sox Photo Day on February 20, 2011 at the Boston Red Sox Player Development Complex in Ft. Myers, Florida  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

In my last PawSox Progress Report, forgive me for being just a little bit entranced with the performance of Ryan Lavarnway. With Jason Varitek in decline, it is essential for the Red Sox to address the situation of which player will be catching their dynamic pitching staff in the years to come.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a disastrous start to the season barely hitting over the Mendoza line through the first couple months.  He was butchered by the media, batting .138 after the Red Sox's 2-10 start, but he quieted all of the naysayers hitting .327 in June.

His catching skills are questionable at best, but even though his fielding skills are marginal, he does seem to have sound control in calling the games for the pitching staff in the games he has caught. The knock on him early in his career though was his inability to throw the ball back to the pitcher.  

On his behalf, in arguing who the Red Sox future catcher should be, Terry Francona does have a habit of falling in love with free agent pickups, performance not withstanding.  Just look at how he has stood by J.D. Drew throughout his tumultuous tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

Ryan Lavarnway started the season at Double-A Portland, and like Josh Reddick, given his opportunity to move up to the next level, he has hit the tar off the ball.  He is batting an astounding .377 with the PawSox coming into Friday night's game.  

To give you an idea of this kid's potential, one needs only to look at the stats through his last 10 games leading into Friday. He has Bryce Harper JuCo numbers with a .487 AVG., seven HRs and a .535 OBP.  Like Salty, his catching skills are also questionable, but you can't ignore his production.

As I end this article, the final tallies have come in from this evening's PawSox game, and Ryan Lavarnway actually upped his average to .383, and belted another home run to make it eight in his last 10 games.

Terry Francona will have an interesting decision going forward, should he stick with Salty, or move on to Lavarnway?