After being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2003 MLB draft, Saltalamacchia worked his way up the ranks in the minor leagues, impressing scouts and analysts everywhere along the way.
In 2007, labeled as the top catching prospect in baseball, "Salty" finally got his shot with the Atlanta Braves, and didn’t disappoint. Through 33 games, Saltalamacchia posted a .333 average, four home runs, 11 RBIs and an incredibly impressive .899 OPS.
In the midst of a playoff push but lacking offense, Atlanta dealt their hot commodity to the Texas Rangers for Mark Teixeira, a move that Texas was happy to make at the time.
But Saltalamacchia’s career fizzled with the Rangers. He hit just .251 in 46 games with Texas in 2007, and followed that up with a .253 average in 2008. A discouraging .233 average in 2009 combined with shaky defense pretty much sealed the deal for Saltalamacchia in Texas. By 2010, he was buried in Triple-A.
Now, thanks to a relatively quiet trade deadline deal, Saltalamacchia has landed with the Red Sox. And so far, he’s made the most of his stint with Boston.
In his first game with the Red Sox on Thursday, Saltalamacchia went 2-for-4 with two doubles against the Blue Jays and threw out Aaron Hill at second base on a steal attempt.
While one game cannot even be considered in the realm of a legitimate sample size, Saltalamacchia’s impressive Red Sox debut is encouraging for the once promising young catcher.
At 25 years old, Salty’s career is far from over. Could Boston be the venue for his coming out party? Will Jarrod Saltalamacchia resurrect his career with the Red Sox?
The Red Sox certainly hope so. Missing backup catcher Jason Varitek and first baseman Kevin Youkilis, a productive Saltalamacchia would allow manager Terry Francona to confidently play Victor Martinez at first base on more occasions, knowing that Saltalamacchia can handle the duties behind the plate.
Trading for Saltalamacchia was one of those low-risk, high-reward deals you always hear baseball executives talking about. As promising as Saltalamacchia’s career once was, the reward could pay off infinitely for the Red Sox.
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