Monday, November 21, 2011

Season in Review: Jarrod Saltalamacchia


Preseason Predictions:
.268 BA, 9 HR, 54 RBI, .763 OPS, 103 Games

Actual Stats:

.235 BA, 16 HR, 56 RBI, .737 OPS, 103 Games (I don't even know why I predicted game totals, but I nailed it).

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, once one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball, came into the year in his first as a full-time starting catcher, in his age-26 season. His career hadn't gone the way it was supposed to up to this point, but he finally had an opportunity to prove himself in Boston. His 103 games was a career-high, and he showed a lot of power in those chances. His .215 ISO was by far a career-high, wiping away his previous high of .156. He also set career-highs in home runs and RBI, but playing more games will do that to a player. One thing that Saltalamacchia did not excel at was getting on base. He walked just 6.2% of the time, about 2-points below league average, which brought his OBP down to a .288 mark. He also struck out a ridiculous 30.8% of the time, which was about 12-points above league average. Unfortunately for Saltalamacchia, though, it was only two points above his career average, showing that it may not have been an aberration. The catcher performed slightly better at home than away, but actually showed more pop away from Fenway. In the summer months, we saw Salty at his best, as he posted .943 and .893 OPS's in June and July, respectively. He also drew above the league average in walks in those months, leading to wOBAs of .409 and .380 in those months. However, just like the majority of the team, he faltered down the stretch, finishing with .542 OPS and .234 wOBA in the final month of the season. Saltalamacchia did a good job of throwing base-stealers out this year, too. He caught 44.5% of all base-stealers, compared to a league-average of 38.5%. In the end, Saltalamacchia had a pretty good season, worth 2.5 fWAR.

Final Grade:
Saltalamacchia did a lot of good things for this team in 2011, and gave them a clear option now that the decline of Jason Varitek seems to be complete. His on-base ability is subpar, but he is a decent defensive catcher with good power. For his season, I will give him a B-.

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