Laurila: In depth with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on July 9, 2013:

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has come a long way behind the plate. “Salty” isn’t among the elite at his position, but he’s developed into a solid defensive catcher. He is certainly among the most cerebral. Once looked at as an offense-first backstop, he is playing a key role in the success of a Boston Red Sox pitching staff that is exceeding expectations.

Originally a first-round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2003, the 28-year-old switch-hitter was acquired by the Red Sox from the Texas Rangers in 2010 and has been the team’s primary catcher for the past two seasons. He discussed the nuances of his craft — and several members of the Boston pitching staff — prior to a recent game at Fenway Park.


 Saltalamacchia on setting the tone: “The first pitch of last night’s game was a fastball away. Nine times out of 10, that’s what it’s going to be. Most pitchers throw off their glove side, so for a righty, it’s away to a righty. But it depends on how that guy likes to pitch. With Jon Lester, there are times we’ll start hard in. We want that pitch to be a strike so his cutter becomes more effective. He can throw a four-seam in, for a strike, and that activates the hitter thinking, “‘OK, now I’ve got to be ready for that heater in.’ Then we can throw something that looks like a heater, but it moves and they foul it off. Now the count is 0-2.

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Originally published: July 9, 2013. Last Updated: July 9, 2013.