Lavarnway Heating Up for the PawSox
After leading the Red Sox system last year with 32 home runs, PawSox catcher Ryan Lavarnway was one of the most talked-about prospects throughout the off-season.
Known primarily for his power, Lavarnway managed just four extra-base hits in April (two homers, two doubles) and ended the month with a .261 average (18-for-69). While his power swing wasn’t apparent in April like it was all of last season, the biggest difference this year is that he is catching everyday – something he has never done before in his career.
“I’m loving [catching everyday],” said Lavarnway. “It’s great to feel like I can make a positive impact on the game, even if I dont’ happen to get a hit that night. Defense doesn’t slump. It’s something I take a lot of pride in, and we have a great pitching staff here which makes it a lot easier.”
The PawSox catcher has been the club’s designated hitter just twice this season. Last year, between Portland, Pawtucket, and Boston, Lavarnway was a designed hitter 62 out of 133 games (47%).
“In the Big Leagues, they need you to catch and handle a pitching staff, not swing the bat,” said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. “When you’re working with guys like Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz, your primary job is to make them better.”
Now that Lavarnway has adjusted to catching everyday, his swing from a season ago is starting to reappear.
“I finally remembered my mind set from last year,” he remarked. “I’m feeling comfortable and have the right aggression level up there right now.”
The Yale product collected his first four-hit game of the season Tuesday night against Indianapolis, and clubbed his second-consecutive three-run homer. Since May 21, he is the top hitter in he International League, batting .432 (16-for-37) with seven extra-base hits and nine runs batted in. He already has more doubles in three games this month (three) than he had in all of April (two).
It looks like everything is starting to come together for Ryan Lavarnway.