It appears as though Ryan Lavarnway is a September call-up after all for the Boston Red Sox this season, but his time in the Red Sox organization is probably over afterward. He is amid his last option year and is a likely DFA candidate this off season, making it clear he will be playing elsewhere next season. Although his time is done in Boston, Lavarnway’s big league career is far from over.
A catcher by trade who now primarily plays first base and DH, Lavarnway is a career .205/.254/.322 hitter in 92 big league games with five homeruns who has gunned down 16% of attempted base stealers. With this being said, he is no longer a part of the Boston Red Sox future.
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Although he may not be the star catcher Boston wanted him to be, Ryan Lavarnway still has the makings of a productive MLB player. Yes, some may call his defense behind the plate dismal — but that is a bit of a stretch. Anyways, he plays first base now and is still a legitimate option as a backup catcher.
Despite limited playing time due to injury, Lavarnway had a productive year this year for the Paw Sox. Slashing .283/.389/.370 while popping three homeruns in the 62 regular season games and .324/.395/.471 in eight postseason games with a homerun, Lavarnway made it clear he can do something well — get on base.
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If his .375 career OBP in the minors is an indication of anything, it is that he can get on base at the next level.
Never has the 27-year-old Yale graduate played first base in the Majors, but odds are he would be successful in doing so. Keep in mind, this is the same Ryan Lavarnway who clubbed 34 homeruns in 2011 split between Portland, Pawtucket and Boston, meaning that he has proven he can hit for enough power to play the position.
Since Boston is most likely getting rid of Ryan Lavarnway this off season, smaller market teams will pounce on the opportunity to get the former top prospect. A versatile player who fits the mold of a pinch hitter (above-average power, good plate discipline), it seems certain Lavarnway could crack another team’s big league roster next season.
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National League teams tend to carry five men on the bench, so carrying a backup first baseman who can catch is an appealing option to those teams — especially one who will earn the league minimum and get on base.
After spending extensive time with the Boston Red Sox as a backup catcher in 2013, Lavarnway earned a World Series ring for his efforts despite being left off the playoff roster in favor of David Ross who Lavarnway outperformed during the regular season.