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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 19, 2011 at 08:38 PM (#3881573)
I have Lavarnway's MLE for the season at 271/336/444. Homers translate extremely poorly from the high minors - I think Mike Emeigh has talked about how lots of guys can hit home runs in AAA on relatively weak contact, and their power won't show up in the majors. From what I've heard of Lavarnway's power, and from the couple of video clips I've seen, it's for realsies. In which case his numbers may project a step or two better than that.

Of course, if Lavarnway can catch at the major league level, that's a very impressive MLE either way.
   2. John DiFool2 Posted: July 19, 2011 at 10:49 PM (#3881687)
Someone posted his defensive stats the other day-3 passed balls, but only 1 error and throwing out 38% of runners.

If he really is developing like wildfire as we speak, then even that MLE is obsolete.
   3. OCD SS Posted: July 20, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#3881862)
Everything I've heard in my extremely informal, not paying attention at all kind of way is that he's improved his defense a lot, but that could just be Sox-colored reports...

The only real question is whether or not he's more likely to stick at catcher than Montero.
   4. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 20, 2011 at 03:19 AM (#3881925)
Lavarnway's sporting a BABIP of .407, so he's probably getting pretty lucky in AAA so far, but he really is hitting the ball hard, with that absurd 348 ISO. Of course he's 23 and not really comparable to Montero, but the dude is really mashing. Let's just hope he can improve his defense. I remember hearing reports during Spring Training that the Red Sox weren't very impressed with any of the catchers in their system, and they briefly acquired Mike McKenry for depth, not trusting any of their own guys. Unless he makes some major strides behind the plate, I doubt he does much for the Red Sox. If he's lucky, maybe he can top out as a butcher/masher like Napoli.
   5. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: July 20, 2011 at 03:50 AM (#3881933)
From today's Future Shock Blog over at Prospectus:


Ryan Lavarnway, C/DH, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket): 3-for-3, 2B, HR (10), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. No prospect in baseball is generating more email and Twitter questions than Lavarnway, who is 14-for-23 with five home runs in his last six games to lift his Triple-A batting line to .381/.451/.729 in 31 games. Red Sox fans are asking when they will see him in the big leagues, but the problem is there just isn't anywhere to put him. He's playing designated hitter as much as he's catching, where he is still below average, and his only other position is manned by this Ortiz guy (you've probably heard of him) currently handling the position in the big leagues. He's kind of become a poor man's Jesus Montero, and like Montero, his best bet for getting to the big leagues might be a change of scenery.
   6. Dan Posted: July 20, 2011 at 04:30 AM (#3881940)
My understanding is that he's DHing half the time because he's splitting catching duties with Exposito (and was splitting with Fedorowicz at AA), not because his defense is so awful that he can't catch. I think he has a good chance of turning into Mike Napoli. He's throwing out runners at over twice the rate Montero is, for instance.
   7. John DiFool2 Posted: July 20, 2011 at 01:15 PM (#3882005)
2-3 last night with another HR and a double.

the problem is there just isn't anywhere to put him.


That's preposterous, unless the writer (and Theo/Tito) really believe that Tek, all things considered, is a better bet going forward (including into next year).
   8. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: July 20, 2011 at 01:18 PM (#3882008)
One of the explanations I saw for Lavarnway's light catching load was that he was so inexperienced as a catcher (not picking it up until midway through his Yale career) that he needed an intensive crash course of drills, something that wouldn't have been possible if he was catching everyday.

I think he's now first in line if either of the catchers, Ortiz, or Gonzalez gets hurt. Barring injury or trade, I'd say he's a lock for a September call-up. If the race isn't too close, I could see him getting a decent amount of playing time. And if he shows something during that time, he might even prove to be a better use of a playoff roster spot than, say, J.D. Drew. A big right-handed bat and third catcher would give Francona some interesting tactical options, especially if they get to the World Series.
   9. Textbook Editor Posted: July 20, 2011 at 02:06 PM (#3882033)
...or of course he could be a chip to get Ubaldo Jimenez...

I'm at a loss as to why on Earth the Rockies would trade him given his contract, but that seems to be the buzz. Just quickly eyeballing his stats, it seems his HR rate and hits are up, but the rest seems more or less in line with last year. Is the uptick in hits related to an uptick in BABIP/worse defense behind him? I can't imagine the Rockies wouldn't ask for some front-line ML ready talent in return, and their most glaring needs (again, just eyeballing a roster) seem to be 2B and 3B, and I don't think we're really bursting at the seams with prospects there.

Or we could deal pitching, I guess, but who? And are we sure there wouldn't be an "NL switch factor" involved here that would instantly kick up his ERA, etc. just by moving to the DH league?

I think I may have talked myself out of this, unless we're able to talk it up to the point where it costs the Yankees Montero to get him.
   10. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: July 20, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3882054)
I don't think Lavarnway makes much sense for the Rockies unless they REALLY think he can catch everyday. They're committed to Helton through 2013 and play in the no-DH league. They'd definitely want Middlebrooks. He's the Sox top prospect (42 on Law's midseason rankings) and the Rockies have an organizational need at third (unless they still think Stewart can turn it around). They'd probably ask for Reddick too, though I suspect the Sox would balk since the point of a trade would be to improve the 2011 club. Brentz is probably the next guy they'd ask for and seeing as it's 3.5 years of Jimenez they're dangling, Ranaudo might even have to be in the conversation too.

Three top 100 prospects would be a steep price, especially so soon after the Gonzalez deal. I think what the Sox are willing to offer depends largely on if they think there's some underlying problem that's caused him to lose almost 3 mph off his fastball in the last year.
   11. puck Posted: July 20, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3882075)
I'm at a loss as to why on Earth the Rockies would trade him given his contract, but that seems to be the buzz. Just quickly eyeballing his stats, it seems his HR rate and hits are up, but the rest seems more or less in line with last year


I don't think they want to. But they have a team that's mired at the 80-90 win level with their few high-upside prospects still in the low minors. (Though a recent late 1st round pick has made a leap at AA Tulsa, I don't know what to make of that.) They're probably considering any way to improve since they know they're not signing any high-WAR type players in the FA market.

The GM has been quoted as seeking a "Herschel Walker" trade, so it's likely they're not really shopping Jimenez. They know the budget they're working with, so they know the value of Ubaldo's contract.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 20, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3882186)
I'd certainly trade the cream of the system for Ubaldo. From Cot's, his contract is:

11:$2.8M, 12:$4.2M, 13:$5.75M club option ($1M buyout), 14:$8M club option ($1M buyout)
(if traded, Jimenez may void 2014)

The Sox traded the cream of a much better system for Beckett, who was under a much less favorable contract. Middlebrooks and Ranaudo and Lavarnway for Ubaldo is a no-brainer to me. Not that I think the Rockies would go for it, but hell, kick the tires and who knows.

I'd really love to hear new info on Lavarnway's catching ability. The only thing I can find is Keith Law saying, "Red Sox believe he's a catcher, but I don't believe anyone else does." So there's that. The Sox believe he's a catcher. That's good! But no one else believes he's a catcher. That's bad! But he comes with a free frogurt. That's good!

The frogurt is also cursed.
   13. OCD SS Posted: July 21, 2011 at 01:02 AM (#3882490)
That's bad.
   14. Textbook Editor Posted: July 21, 2011 at 01:11 AM (#3882496)
Abraham on Extra Bases basically making a pitch to get Hunter Pence for, well, an insane package (to me):

Start with Ryan Lavarnway, Will Middlebrooks or Ryan Kalish. Toss in any pitcher not named Anthony Ranaudo (meaning Kyle Weiland, Felix Doubront, Alex Wilson or Stephen Fife) and then whatever else it takes. Josh Reddick, Che-Hsuan Lin, Bryce Brentz, etc.

No Ranaudo, no Jose Iglesias. Other than that, it's a good move.


He arbitration-eligible and will start getting expensive next year. Do we want Pence over any other home-grown (and cheaper) OF candidates for 2012 & beyond?

Don't know why Abraham's musings bother me so much; he just seems nuts with some of his targets/trade ideas.
   15. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: July 21, 2011 at 01:24 AM (#3882503)

Don't know why Abraham's musings bother me so much; he just seems nuts with some of his targets/trade ideas


Ah, good ol' All-you-can-eat-Pete. Wonderful at nuggets of reporting and covering the team on a daily basis, so very over matched at anything resembling thinking or analysis ...
   16. Dan Posted: July 21, 2011 at 01:43 AM (#3882514)
This team is not trading for Hunter Pence. And especially not paying that.
   17. Textbook Editor Posted: July 21, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#3882522)
#15/#16... OK, good. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought ...the hell... when I read that.
   18. Darren Posted: July 21, 2011 at 02:25 AM (#3882532)
I heard on WFAN (must be true) that the Sox and Phillies have the best offers for Beltran. Thinking about it, as much as I like Reddick, they sort of have to do it if they can get him reasonably. He's a switch hitter, which will help the lineup a lot. And he's just sooooo good.
   19. Famous Original Joe C Posted: July 21, 2011 at 02:44 AM (#3882542)
The end of [12] and [13] is my favorite exchange here in some time.
   20. Textbook Editor Posted: July 21, 2011 at 02:45 AM (#3882544)
But Darren, Beltran's a strict rental, I think. There's no way they're making him a mega-offer to stay after the season, right? Reddick might not just be 75% of Beltran's production for the rest of the year & the next 2 years, he might be 5% of Beltran's cost for the next 2 years at least.

I have this innate fear of NL guys moving to the AL mid-season as well; I just worry he's lose 50 points of BA or something and all of a sudden it's a terrible move.

It is tempting, but I would not want to lose Reddick for a 2-month rental. If it means DFA'ing McDonald and trading someone else, that would be fine with me.

Can't imagine who the Phillies would be offering (though in fairness I am not familiar with their farm system). If they're offering something like Stutes/Bastardo or Worley on the P side, I suppose that makes some sense (though I've seen Worley pitch a bunch of games and I'm not sure he's centerpiece material for a deal like this). If they did something like trade Brown for a rental of Beltran that would be insane... I also find it really unlikely they'd trade him in the division, but maybe the almighty dollar will trump that.
   21. Darren Posted: July 21, 2011 at 03:15 AM (#3882561)
Didn't mean they should trade Reddick, just that he'd be replaced in the lineup for 2011.
   22. Joel W Posted: July 21, 2011 at 03:52 AM (#3882573)
Also % chance that Beltran gets hurt>>>>>>% chance Reddick gets hurt. ZiPS has Beltran with 30 Runs Created the rest of the way to Reddick's 21, and Reddick is about 2-3 runs better over 60 games defensively/baserunning, and I think Reddick is likely better than his ZiPS and the injury propensity is much lower. Beltran is awesome, and our lineup is definitely lefty heavy, but I just can't see the value in giving up much for Beltran for that sort of an upgrade. There are much smaller moves that could provide lineup balance.
   23. Textbook Editor Posted: July 21, 2011 at 04:43 AM (#3882588)
#21--Ah, OK. Misread that then. Sorry.

Still, though, I have a hard time buying the idea we'd give up anything of real value to get 55-odd games of Beltran while covering his full salary + not getting any arbitration picks at the end of the whole saga. He'd be incredibly useful, yes, but not at any of the prices I've seen bandied about.
   24. OCD SS Posted: July 21, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3882670)
My thought is that Beltran represents an affordable luxury. There's going to be a roster crunch at the end of the year with the Sox likely losing several prospects to waiver/ Rule V claims. My bet is that the Sox have an offer built around these types of players, so the Sox would rather send these players to the Mets for the upgrade and insurance policy because it would mean getting something for them, rather than just watching them leave in the offseason.

I doubt they'd actually send anyone who might be used to land pitching.
   25. Joel W Posted: July 21, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3882710)
OCD who are the prospects likely to be left/taken in the Rule V draft, just to get an idea of who the zero-marginal cost prospects would be?
   26. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: July 21, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3882733)
There was an article about it here.
   27. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: July 21, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3882746)
Theo was asked about this on D&C:
Do you feel like you have a log jam at the top of the lineup? I’ll give you an example: If you wanted to bring up Ryan Lavarnway in September, you’d have to make a move on the 40-man, do you think there is a log jam there?

A little bit, again it is a good problem to have. I’ve been part of teams where we were looking for guys to add to the 40-man roster because we didn’t have enough to put on but I think it is not a huge problem to have. For in season moves, there is always a way to do. You always have candidates that can be DL’d, there are guys at the end of your roster that you might be able to sneak through waivers. We do have an organizational log jam so to speak this winter, we have a lot of prospects talented enough to warrant selection for the 40-man roster probably more than we had thought, but things work themselves out. I think sometimes there is too much fear of the Rule-5 draft, if you leave a talented player in A ball exposed and there is a good draft that he will be taken in the Rule-5 draft and you have two or three or four members of your organization taken in the Rule-5 draft, the reality is that very few players have always stuck with their new organizations and you will get those players back at spring training or early on in the season. It is a good problem to have and they always seem to work themselves out.
   28. steagles Posted: July 21, 2011 at 08:17 PM (#3882945)
I have this innate fear of NL guys moving to the AL mid-season as well; I just worry he's lose 50 points of BA or something and all of a sudden it's a terrible move.
how is it any different for a hitter to go from the NL to the AL as opposed vice versa? the reason there's a league adjustment is because of the DH, but the DH rule only effects pitchers who switch leagues, because there's really no signifcant effect that a hitter has on another hitter.

(though I've seen Worley pitch a bunch of games and I'm not sure he's centerpiece material for a deal like this).

keithlaw keithlaw

#sellhigh RT @Buster_ESPN Source: The Phillies would prefer to structure any of their Hunter Pence offers around Vance Worley.
2 minutes ago


If they did something like trade Brown for a rental of Beltran that would be insane

yes, yes it would be. considering the financial restrictions, i don't imagine that any significant pieces will be leaving the phillies organization at the deadline. if they can center a deal for pence around worley, they'll make that deal. if they can trade an A baller or two for mike adams, they'll make that deal. i could be wrong, but i don't think they'll be in on heath bell.

Also % chance that Beltran gets hurt>>>>>>% chance Reddick gets hurt. ZiPS has Beltran with 30 Runs Created the rest of the way to Reddick's 21, and Reddick is about 2-3 runs better over 60 games defensively/baserunning, and I think Reddick is likely better than his ZiPS and the injury propensity is much lower. Beltran is awesome, and our lineup is definitely lefty heavy, but I just can't see the value in giving up much for Beltran for that sort of an upgrade. There are much smaller moves that could provide lineup balance.
you're looking at it the wrong way. the reason you trade for beltran is not because he'll add great value over the rest of the regular season, you trade for him because every marginal improvement you can make at the deadline becomes significant when you get into the playoffs, where a clutch hit can put you in the next round.
   29. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 21, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3882957)
The Phillies would prefer to structure any of their Hunter Pence offers around Vance Worley.


I'm sure they would. That doesn't mean that the Astros should take it. If the Astros do trade Pence then Worley alone isn't enough to get it done but he seems like someone who would be good enough to be packaged with some form of lottery ticket and one more useful prospect to make the deal happen.
   30. Textbook Editor Posted: July 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM (#3883028)
Here's the thing: Beltran makes more sense to me for the Phillies then Pence, simply because Pence--starting in 2012--is going to have 2 more arb years where he'll grow his current $6 million salary, and then be a FA. So while sure, the Phillies would control him, they now have to probably pay ~$8 million a year x 2 years... so basically you've just shot your Ibanez savings for 2012 on... Hunter Pence. So now your OF is Brown, Pence, and Victorino for 2012. Fantastic. Bleh.

Can't wait to read about them re-signing Rollins to a 5 year/$60 million deal so they can keep getting .330 OBP out of their leadoff spot...
   31. steagles Posted: July 22, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#3883054)

Here's the thing: Beltran makes more sense to me for the Phillies then Pence, simply because Pence--starting in 2012--is going to have 2 more arb years where he'll grow his current $6 million salary, and then be a FA. So while sure, the Phillies would control him, they now have to probably pay ~$8 million a year x 2 years... so basically you've just shot your Ibanez savings for 2012 on... Hunter Pence. So now your OF is Brown, Pence, and Victorino for 2012. Fantastic. Bleh.
how many OFs in the NL this year are better than brown-victorino-pence? and how many of them would still be better in 2012 and then 2013?

i'd be damn near ecstatic to see this thing put together, even if it comes at the expense of my own personal mancrush, vance worley. every run they add to the offense makes halladay, lee, and hamels that much more formidable. and with oswalt targeting an early august return, the loss of worley, if he's the foundation for a deal, would be fairly minimal.



Can't wait to read about them re-signing Rollins to a 5 year/$60 million deal so they can keep getting .330 OBP out of their leadoff spot...
if he comes back to philly it'll be 3 years/30 million max.
   32. John DiFool2 Posted: July 22, 2011 at 01:46 AM (#3883067)
2 for 4 tonite, another HR, 2 RBIs.
   33. Joel W Posted: July 22, 2011 at 02:39 AM (#3883084)
you're looking at it the wrong way. the reason you trade for beltran is not because he'll add great value over the rest of the regular season, you trade for him because every marginal improvement you can make at the deadline becomes significant when you get into the playoffs, where a clutch hit can put you in the next round.


Francisco Cabrera come on down. 2007 JD Drew come on down. Aaron F'ing Boone. Bucky F'ing Dent. Etc. The marginal advantage in those moments is exceeded by the sheer randomness. The biggest advantage is from the platoon in that situation. How much more likely are the Red Sox to win the World Series with and without Beltran?
   34. Dan Posted: July 22, 2011 at 04:03 AM (#3883113)
2 for 4 tonite, another HR, 2 RBIs.


He was also robbed of a game-tying HR in the 9th by Brandon Moss.
   35. Textbook Editor Posted: July 22, 2011 at 04:16 AM (#3883117)
He was also robbed of a game-tying HR in the 9th by Brandon Moss.


Red Sox former farmhand represent!
   36. Dan Posted: July 22, 2011 at 11:54 PM (#3883569)
Lavarnway just homered again. 27th of the season between AA and AAA.
   37. Dan Posted: July 23, 2011 at 12:10 AM (#3883585)
Baseball America featured Lavarnway in their Prospect Hot Sheet today.

Apparently he's got a sweet 'stache now too.
   38. Dan Posted: July 23, 2011 at 12:28 AM (#3883609)
RBI double to RF in his 2nd AB.
   39. Darren Posted: July 23, 2011 at 03:31 AM (#3883718)
Lavarnway just hit another home runs. And pitched a perfect 7th inning. And saved a bunch of children... but not the Yankee children.
   40. tfbg9 Posted: July 23, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3883837)
37-as has Chiang!
   41. plink Posted: July 23, 2011 at 05:13 PM (#3883848)
I'm not seeing Chiang's 'stache.
   42. Darren Posted: July 23, 2011 at 10:43 PM (#3883959)
I think he meant that Chiang also put Lavarnway in his Prospect Hot Sheet.
   43. tfbg9 Posted: July 24, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3884251)
41-look closer?
   44. Darren Posted: July 25, 2011 at 02:39 AM (#3884524)
Chris Hernandez has made some very promising strides at A+. At first, he was just a groundball savant. But since the break, he's K'ed 25, BB'ed 8, and given up 1 HR in 31.2 IP, while keeping up a very nice 2.39 GO/AO ratio. His stuff is apparently not very impressive, however.
   45. Xander Posted: July 25, 2011 at 05:47 AM (#3884575)
Since 2000, out of all the players who have compiled 300 AB's in the EL in a season, only 1 has had a higher OPS than Chih-Hsien Chiang (1.043). That player was Randy Ruiz, who was a 27-year old career minor leaguer at that point. Big deal, right?

Filter the players who are 23-and-under and CHC is ahead in OPS by 50 points. The top 15 leaderboard is as follows:

1. Victor Martinez (.993 OPS, 23 years old)
2. Michael Taylor (.977, 23)
3. Michael Cuddyer (.955, 22)
4. Garrett Jones (.949, 23)
5. Carlos Santana (.943, 23)
6. Marlon Byrd (.941, 23)
7. Alexis Rios (.924, 22)
8. Mike Jacobs (.923, 22)
9. Curtis Granderson (.922, 23)
10. Ryan Raburn (.922, 23)
11. Jed Lowrie (.911, 23)
12. Jordan Brown (.906, 23)
13. Gabe Gross (.903, 23)
14. Adam Lind (.900, 22)
15. Eric Thames (.896, 23)
   46. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 25, 2011 at 06:52 AM (#3884585)
What's really amazing is the power Chiang's flashing this year. Chiang's got a nice OPS, but it's driven by a 363 BABIP. That's not crazy high, but if that came down to a more normal level, his average and OBP are more in line with his career numbers. His ISO has gone crazy, though. He's hitting the ball wicked hard, and I hope that power's here to stay.
   47. Norcan Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:22 AM (#3884587)
Since 2000, out of all the players who have compiled 300 AB's in the EL in a season, only 1 has had a higher OPS than Chih-Hsien Chiang (1.043). That player was Randy Ruiz, who was a 27-year old career minor leaguer at that point. Big deal, right?

Filter the players who are 23-and-under and CHC is ahead in OPS by 50 points. The top 15 leaderboard is as follows:


True, Chiang's numbers are impressive but with a couple of caveats. This is his second time through the EL and his minor league track record prior to this breakout season was underwhelming, with no seasons with an OPS above 800, although he came close in the Cal League but that in itself would be a caveat.

The most impressive players you listed, Victor, Granderson, Lind and Santana, posted their numbers their first time in the EL and had been impressive in the lower levels before that. Cuddyer repeated the EL but had put up solid performances before that as well.

I hope Chiang's turns out to be legitimate, of course. He's not a bad athlete and for all his power, doesn't struggle to make contact. He also seems to handle lefties alright. On the downside, he doesn't have a long track record of success, is putting up big numbers his second time through a league and judging by his walk numbers, is a free swinger that could get exploited with better pitching. I'm reserving judgment until he thumps in Triple-A.
   48. Xander Posted: July 25, 2011 at 07:33 AM (#3884589)
In fairness, he was great the second half of 2010, but his numbers were the so bad from the first two months that he couldn't fully recover them. His dominance has extended through July of last year though.
   49. Fourth True Outcome Posted: July 25, 2011 at 08:06 AM (#3884592)
The note in the Prospect Hot Sheet is also pretty encouraging. Apparently the Sox hired a Chinese-speaking nutritionist this past offseason to help him get more control over his Type I diabetes. If that's a good part of why he's having such a good season, you'd think it would be sustainable going forward.
   50. Norcan Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:31 AM (#3885522)
The note in the Prospect Hot Sheet is also pretty encouraging. Apparently the Sox hired a Chinese-speaking nutritionist this past offseason to help him get more control over his Type I diabetes. If that's a good part of why he's having such a good season, you'd think it would be sustainable going forward.


Yeah, I read that afterwards as well. It does put his numbers this year in a more hopeful, encouraging light.

He really needs to be promoted to Triple-A. It's a joke what he's doing to the EL right now. He's batting 440 in July with a 1286 OPS. Since this is his second time in the EL and he's not too young, room should be made for him in Triple-A. He should pair with Lavarnway to form their own version of the Ortiz/Manny duo.

Also, his swing and setup looked good during the Futures game. Nothing stood out in a bad, gimmicky way that pegged him as AAAA player.

Watching the Futures game was frustrating. One because Matt Moore was on display and he is a nightmare to behold. What a talent. It's going to suck seeing him pitch against the Red Sox 5-6 times a year if they don't scrap the unbalanced schedule. Another cause for frustration was seeing Carlos Martinez pitch. He was signed by the Red Sox for 150,000 but the contract was nullified by the commissioner's office due to questionable age documents. A year later, he goes from throwing 88-92 to throwing in the mid to high 90s and St. Louis signs him for 1.5 mil. The Red Sox did nothing wrong and got shafted. His delivery looks more like a reliever's though.
   51. Xander Posted: July 26, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3885742)
Also, his swing and setup looked good during the Futures game.
Quite similar to Josh Hamilton's swing and setup, in fact.
   52. Norcan Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#3885810)
Quite similar to Josh Hamilton's swing and setup, in fact.


I didn't see that because Chiang doesn't have Hamilton's bat waggle. He just keeps his bat still, lifts his front foot and swings. His swing and setup are more similar to David Murphy's than Hamilton's. Hamilton cocks his wrists perpendicularly to the plate, which I can only remember Randall Simon also doing.
   53. Dan Posted: July 26, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3885831)
I imagine Chiang is still in AA because they plan on using him as a trade chip. If he went to AAA and struggled in his first few games he'd potentially lose some value. He obviously doesn't really fit in with the major league roster with Crawford, Ellsbury, and Reddick all being lefty outfielders (plus Kalish too), so he seems like obvious trade bait.
   54. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 03:42 AM (#3888060)
From KLaw's ESPN chat today:


Mickey (Boston)
Ryan Lavarnway is MASHING at AAA right now. The Red Sox think he can catch in the bigs, you think he certainly cannot. Are they posturing or are you being overly tough on the guy?
Klaw (12:38 PM)
If I had any scout anywhere tell me he thought Lavarnway could catch in the big leagues, I would tell you that and would offer more optimism. I don't talk to every scout or every team, but so far, no one is buying him behind the plate.
   55. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:56 PM (#3888161)
I have no first hand knowledge of Lavarnway's defense but the numbers I can access (CS%, Passed Balls) suggest an improved defensive catcher in 2011. Maybe he sucks back there but I'm a big believer that if you have a catcher who can rake you leave him there until he proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he can't hack it.
   56. Darren Posted: July 29, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3888194)
It would be helpful to know how many scouts Law has actually talked to about this.

I'm with Jose. Even if he's really bad, you're talking about a 25-run drop in offensive value by moving him to 1B. If he's even 15 runs below average behind the plate, which is pretty darn bad, you'd have to think his bat would make it worth it.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 29, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3888216)
As people start to measure a catcher's defensive contributions more accurately - PB/WP prevention, framing of strikes, game calling - I think one of the conclusions to be drawn is that it really is possible for a bad defensive catcher to cost his team a lot of runs.

You know, Lavarnway's been catching every other game for two years now. That's enough of a sample that it's reasonably likely that if he's really really bad, the team would have been allowing more runs in the games he starts, opposing hitters would be walking more and striking out less, there would be way more wild pitches, things like that. I don't have time to do the data collection on that right now, but I can do it next week if someone else doesn't / hasn't done it first.

Obviously such a study wouldn't be definitive - sampling issues are significant here, and the combination of minor league pitchers and minor league umpires and all that create qualitative differences that make extrapolating to the majors a complicated proposition. But if Lavarnway's really that bad - like, you simply can't allow him to catch a game in the majors bad - it seems reasonably likely the effect would show up in the minors, too.

The other issue with Lavarnway, as I understand things, is that he's considered to lack the tools to play first base. So, it's not like if his bat is really this awesome, he could be shifted to 1B or LF like Josh Willingham - Lavarnway's just not much of an athlete, so it's catcher or DH for him. Sort of like Mike Piazza.
   58. Joel W Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#3888315)
As MCA said, the revealed preferences thing just makes me think that saber people aren't getting it right with respect to catcher defense, and that it really is just that important defensively. Perhaps we'll get there eventually. Still, even if the guy is your Victor Martinez that's a ton of value. Sure he's bad back there, and can only catch 50 games a year max, but he'll still hit enough and is a huge upgrade over the standard backup catcher.
   59. Darren Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:20 PM (#3888409)
If the sabrefolks start putting such numbers on catchers' defense, I think we're likely to see that, for the most part, they've not allowed the really bad ones to stay there. In other words, a guy deemed not good enough to be given much of a shot to catch (Lavarnway?) would probably fall far short of a guy who's deemed poor but acceptable considering his bat (Victor).

You know, Lavarnway's been catching every other game for two years now. That's enough of a sample that it's reasonably likely that if he's really really bad, the team would have been allowing more runs in the games he starts, opposing hitters would be walking more and striking out less, there would be way more wild pitches, things like that.


I'd also point out that we can read a lot into the Red Sox keeping him at catcher. Letting him keep catching indicates that they probably think he's on his way to being useful enough there. And I doubt that they'd allow him to rack up wild pitches and cost them K's for fear of hurting the development of their pitchers. (It would be interesting to see who they let him catch. If he was always the guy getting the Duckworths and Millwoods while Expo or someone else was getting Wieland and co, that would be telling.)
   60. Darren Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3888414)
I also have a really hard time seeing how a fit 23-year-old who could even fake catching could not learn 1B. I know Piazza sucked there, but he was quite a bit older and on the downslope.
   61. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3888419)
It would be helpful to know how many scouts Law has actually talked to about this.


Well, he didn't talk to Goldstein, who has said (I don't have a link handy) that while Lavarnway isn't good behind the plate, he's good enough for teams to put up with.
   62. Darren Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#3888429)
Here's a recent article on Lavarnway working on his defense:

One way to gauge if Grall’s sessions are paying off is to swear by traditional stats. In 15 games as Pawtucket’s catcher —Lavarnway made his 16th appearance Tuesday night — he’s thrown out 29 percent of would-be base stealers with zero errors and two passed balls. Measuring progress strictly off numbers is not the only factor when it comes to charting Lavarnway, however. There are intangibles to pick up, jot down and reinforce after the night’s work is done.
   63. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3888431)
What's the pitcher OPS against with Lavarnway versus with other catchers?
   64. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3888444)
I also have a really hard time seeing how a fit 23-year-old who could even fake catching could not learn 1B. I know Piazza sucked there, but he was quite a bit older and on the downslope.


The problems that would make him unsuccessful as a catcher; bad footwork, unreliable hands, would also be a problem at first base. Fielding groundballs is also a completely different skill and if he lacks the agility to that then he's going to have a problem.

I think your point in #59 is a good one. The fact that the Sox have literally never played him anywhere else on the field, not for a single inning (per BBRef) tells me the Sox are believe he's got a shot behind the plate.
   65. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#3888450)
Or that the Sox believe he doesn't have a shot anywhere else.
   66. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#3888488)
From today's BP chat:


Michael (Ohio): Which is more likely to happen, Jesus Montero starting catcher for the NYY or Ryan Lavarnway starting catcher for BOS?

Kevin Goldstein: None of the above?
   67. Dan Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#3888497)
I don't think anyone was really considering him as a starter. The question is if he can stick in a Mike Napoli role, backing up/quasi-platooning with Saltalamacchia and getting some ABs at DH when not catching. Salty has hit RHP better than LHP over his career so could be a nice pairing.
   68. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 29, 2011 at 08:36 PM (#3888536)
That Q&A is a little vague depending on how Goldstein was interpreting the question. It's possible he was answering "can either of these guys catch?" but it's equally possible he was answering "are these guys going to get traded?"

It's entirely possible to answer "None of the above?" to the posed question while still believing that one or both players is capable of being an MLB catcher. Also, God help me I can't believe I'm saying this, the Sox may be blocking Lavarway a little bit with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Holy crap I can't believe I wrote that. I'm pretty sure MCoA and I had a BBRef sponsorship on that one and I'm equally sure that I'm going to be sponsoring someone later this year.
   69. Darren Posted: July 30, 2011 at 03:00 AM (#3888816)
Or that the Sox believe he doesn't have a shot anywhere else.


So the Red Sox don't think he's got a real shot at being a catcher, but they have never tried him anywhere else and have promoted him quickly through their system? It seems infinitely more likely that they think he's got a shot to catch.
   70. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 30, 2011 at 04:11 AM (#3888855)
If he doesn't have a shot at catching, they should absolutely trade him now.
   71. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: July 31, 2011 at 11:37 PM (#3889927)
I'd be really happy to see what Salty-Lav can do next season. SaltyVag isn't going to be the combo for 2012
   72. Dan Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3890439)
I read that Jack Z. wanted Lavarnway for Bedard, which is why Theo had to go out and get Trayvon Robinson.
   73. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:44 PM (#3892116)
Finally, it looks like Kalish will be playing baseball again.

No matter what Kalish does, I can't imagine he has much of a shot to win the starting job in RF next year. Reddick probably has this one sewn up as long as doesn't completely fall apart, although I would guess they'll bring in a strong RH OF (or just keep McDonald) no matter what happens.
   74. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#3894599)
Ryan Westmoreland is ready to face live BP. I mean, if he actually makes it back to playing professional baseball, this will be just an amazing story.

And in less dramatic recovery news, I think Junichi Tazawa has worked out the kinks following his TJ surgery. He's on a very tight pitch limit in Portland, but his last five starts: 17 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 19 K. I think it's reasonable to think that Tazawa should re-establish himself as a real prospect / depth SP next season.
   75. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 19, 2011 at 01:05 AM (#3903517)
Lavarnway called up to replace Youkilis ...
   76. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 19, 2011 at 06:58 PM (#3904207)
... and went 0-4 with 1 K in his debut. Had some good at-bats, though.
   77. Darren Posted: August 19, 2011 at 07:31 PM (#3904242)
What ever happened with Westmoreland?
   78. Joel W Posted: August 19, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#3904277)
https://twitter.com/#!/RWesty25 Sounds good to me.
   79. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 24, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3908092)
Kalish back to the DL. Doesn't sound good.
   80. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 24, 2011 at 09:25 PM (#3908095)
From the article:
Sources have said since April that Kalish is likely to require surgery on his shoulder after the season.
Then just have the damn surgery instead of wasting months on rehab and risking further injury. He'd better be fully recovered from surgery before the season next year.
   81. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 25, 2011 at 11:53 AM (#3908520)
I didn't watch the end of the game, but I saw Lavarnway got two innings in at catcher. How did he look? In some ways, I think the fact that he played is more important than just how he played (as long as he wasn't a disaster) - it shows the Red Sox org sees him as some sort of catcher right now, and Terry Francona does too.
   82. villageidiom Posted: August 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM (#3908531)
I didn't watch the end of the game, but I saw Lavarnway got two innings in at catcher. How did he look? In some ways, I think the fact that he played is more important than just how he played (as long as he wasn't a disaster) - it shows the Red Sox org sees him as some sort of catcher right now, and Terry Francona does too.
Heidi Watney reported that Francona thinks he's improved to the point that now he's willing to use him as a catcher. She summed up that now Lavarnway's defense could now be as high as "average".
   83. tfbg9 Posted: August 25, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3908548)
Well, if Heidi Watney is bullish on Lavarnaway at C, Keith Law needs to reconsider.
   84. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 25, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3908869)
Lavarnway looked fine, but he wasn't really tested. I don't think there were any pitches in the dirt, pop-ups behind the plate, stolen base attempts, or really any plays for Lavarnway to be involved in. He wasn't signalling the infield or running the game or doing anything except calling pitches and catching the ball, which is pretty much what you'd expect from a rookie catcher in a 13-2 game. He didn't let any pitches just sail by him, which was good, but his framing wasn't great (he sort of stabbed at the ball with his glove) and something about his body language made me think he was a little uncomfortable back there. That could be nerves, or he could not be confident at his position, or I could just be projecting it.

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