Re: Extension for Salty? Heres a couple good articles
posted at 7/10/2013 1:38 AM EDT
If you guys are impatient with Salty's learning curve, especially on defense and staff-handling, then be prepared for a few years of struggle with Lava.
I have pointed out numerous times that VTek was leading the league in PBs at salty's age and did not become a CERA whiz until after age 30. I was all over Salty and his poor ERA right up until May of 2012. I kept looking for an improvement that never seemed to come. In April of 2012, he turned a corner and started to improve. I'm not sure Lava can get to this point for several years. Sure, he'll be better right off in CS%, but that's about it as far as I'm concerned. To me, that is a tiny part of what makes a catcher a plus.
On offense, Salty ranks 6th in OPS at .799 (250+ PAs) or 8th out of the top 30 catchers by PAs (160+). He's also 6th in OBP (250+ PAs)- an area he has struggled with over his career. He is 10th out of 30 (160+ PAs). He's 9th in wRC+ at 114. More importantly is this fact: Salty hits RHPs very well. It may seem like a weakness to be so bad vs LHPs, but if he is used correctly (only vs RH'd starters) then his offense looks even better when compared to MLB catchers vs RHPs. Out of the top 30 MLB catchers in PAs vs RHPs, Salty places 5th in OPS at .845 and 13th in OBP at .340.
Only 3 catchers in MLB have more PAs and a higher OPS (.802) than Salty vs RHPs since 2012 (Mauer, Molina, and Posey).
This is what Ive been trying to say. Varitek didnt start to be the great catcher well all know until he got to his late 20's (28-29) and then pput it all together at 30yrs old.
Actually, VTek was not really "great" until about age 31, when he hit .273 25 85. Although he has 20 Hrs at age 27, I wouldn't call an .813 OPS great, especially when you add the fact that he led the league in PBs that same year and the next (ages 27 & 28). His CS% was about 26% up to age 29, but he never got over 30%. He also made 11 errors that year at age 27. He followed up that season with a .248 10 65 season at age 28 and was hurt for most of his season at age 29. VTek's CERA dominance did not begin until his early 30's. The one thing VTek always had on Salty at that early age was OBP (.309, .330, .342, .371, and .332 up to age 30, but Salty has made great strides in that area so far this year. VTek's career OBP is .341. Salty is at .343 right now. To be fair, Salty usually slumps late seasons, and it is doubtful he will ever match VTek's top 4 OBP seasons of 390, 371, 366, and 367.
Salty just turned 28 in May.
I still dont think Lavarnway, besides cs%, will be that good of a defensive catcher on a fulltime basis. If he is able to become one, it will still be a 2-3yrs before he really puts it all together. And there is no guarentee his bat will translate as well at the MLB level. It hasnt so far.
Most scouting reports question Lava's defense.