Results tagged ‘ Ryan Lavarnway ’

PawSox Christmas Party (Photos)

On what turned out to be a rainy Saturday in Pawtucket, nearly 1,000 PawSox fans showed up at McCoy Stadium for the annual PawSox Christmas Party.

Those in attendance had a chance to get their picture taken with the Governors’ Cup trophy, donate to Toys for Tots, make Christmas ornaments, and, of course, grab autographs from our three special guests: Ryan Lavarnway, Tony Thomas, and Jeremy Hazelbaker.

Here are some photos from the afternoon:

A big thanks to all three players and all our outstanding fans for making this event such a success!



Lavarnway, Iglesias Among Top I.L. Prospects

With the 2012 season in the books, Baseball America has named their top-20 International League prospects:

1. Matt Harvey, RHP, Buffalo (Mets)
2. Starling Marte, OF, Indianapolis (Pirates)
3. Chris Archer, RHP, Durham (Rays)
4. Julio Teheran, RHP, Gwinnett (Braves)
5. Chris Parmelee, 1B, Rochester (Twins)
6. Ryan Lavarnway, C, Pawtucket (Red Sox)
7. Didi Gregorius, SS, Louisville (Reds)
8. Jacob Turner, RHP, Toledo (Tigers)
9. Jeff Locke, LHP, Indianapolis (Pirates)
10. Tim Beckham, SS, Durham (Rays)
11. Jose Iglesias, SS, Pawtucket (Red Sox)
12. Cory Kluber, RHP, Columbus (Indians)
13. Cody Allen, RHP, Columbus (Indians)
14. Jeurys Famila, RHP, Buffalo (Mets)
15. L.J. Hoes, OF, Norfolk (Orioles)
16. Zach McAllister, RHP, Columbus (Indians)
17. Jennry Mejia, RHP, Buffalo (Mets)
18. Casey Crosby, LHP, Toledo (Tigers)
19. Tyler Cloyd, RHP, Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
20. Christian Garcia, RHP, Syracuse (Nationals)

Not surprisingly, Ryan Lavarnway was the league’s top catching prospect. In 83 games with the PawSox, the 24-year-old hit .295 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in. In his first full season catching, Lavarnway experienced his most successful month as a professional hitter. In 21 games in July, the Yale product hit .405 with four homers, 10 doubles, and 18 RBI.

In two years, Lavarnway played exactly one season’s worth of games for the PawSox (144) and is a career .295 Triple-A hitter. (Kelly O’Connor)

Lavarnway was called-up to Boston at the start of August and finished the season with the Red Sox. While he struggled with Boston (.157/2 HR/12 RBI/11 BB/41 K/46 Gm), everyone who has seen Lavarnway play in Triple-A knows he has a bright future.

Although it’s hard to imagine a better defensive shortstop in the circuit than Jose Iglesias, the Cuban was the third ranked shortstop in the International League according to Baseball America. Iglesias entered 2012 with plenty to prove about his abilities at the plate. Although there are still some questions about his long term offensive abilities, Iglesias proved that he was capable of being an effective hitter in Triple-A.

One high-ranking scout told be that he couldn't think of a shortstop he saw in 2012 that was better defensively than Iglesias -- and that includes the Major Leagues. (Kelly O'Connor)

One high-ranking scout told be that he couldn’t think of a shortstop he saw in 2012 that was better defensively than Iglesias — and that includes the Major Leagues. (Kelly O’Connor)

The shortstop was hitting a club best .341 over 20 games in May before suffering a lower back injury which sidelined him until the end of June. Before being called-up to Boston, Iglesias hit .329 in August over 19 games and drew a monthly-high nine walks compared to eight strikeouts. Iglesias is not one to hit for extra-bases very often. Of his 94 hits with Pawtucket, 83 were singles. That being said, I’ll be the first to say that there were plenty of times where Jose drove the ball well, but right to an outfielder.

Both of these guys will be solid contributors in Boston in 2013.



The Governors’ Cup Returns to Rhode Island

After waiting 28 years, PawSox fans have been rewarded. With a 4-1 win over the Charlotte Knights Thursday evening, the Pawtucket Red Sox proved they were the best team in the International League in 2012 and won their first Governors’ Cup in nearly three decades.

Not only was the win over Charlotte the club’s first championship since defeating the now defunct Maine Guides in 1984, it was also the first post-season series sweep in franchise history. You could make a strong argument that the PawSox played some of their best baseball of the entire season during the playoffs. Here’s the proof:

  • Pawtucket finished the post-season with a 6-1 record.
  • The pitching staff combined for a sparkling 2.01 ERA (14 ER/62.2 IP).
  • In the last six games, Pawtucket starters combined to go 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA (6 ER/39.1 IP).
  • In seven playoff games, PawSox batters combined for 10 home runs, 10 doubles, and three triples.
  • The PawSox outscored the Knights 13-3 in three games.

Here’s what it looked like on the field Thursday night following the final out.

Enough can’t be said about the work of manager Arnie Beyeler. The second-year PawSox skipper constantly dealt with a changing roster that, in total, featured 69 players — one shy of the franchise record.

In two years in Pawtucket, Arnie has won a North Division title and now a Governors’ Cup. From my time spent around Arnie and our 1-on-1 conversations (both on-air and off), I can tell you that he is the perfect example of how hard work pays off.

After more than five months and 150 games, it’s awfully difficult sum up a season and fully appreciate all that happened. Let’s face it, there has been plenty to celebrate in 2012 in addition to a Governors’ Cup championship:

  • Mauro Gomez was named International League MVP.
  • Jose Iglesias and Ryan Lavarnway were named post-season All-Stars.
  • We were able to watch Will Middlebrooks crush it for all of April.
  • People in Pawtucket fell in love with Pedro Ciriaco before anyone else.
  • PawSox team president Mike Tamburro was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.
  • Lars Anderson and Jason Repko each made SportsCenters’ Top-10 Plays.
  • The beautiful statue Ben Mondor was unveiled inside Mondor Gardens.
  • Big Leaguers like Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Carl Crawford, and Cody Ross all wore a PawSox jersey.

The remaining members from the PawSox Opening Day roster (left to right): Tony Thomas, Che-Hsuan Lin, Alex Wilson, Will Inman, Alex Hassan, Jason Repko, Nate Spears, Tony Pena, Jr.

The PawSox have a chance to add another highlight to the list with a win Tuesday night in Durham in the Triple-A National Championship Game against either Reno or Omaha.

Both on-air and in this blog, it has been a pleasure bringing PawSox baseball to you in 2012. Your loyal readership always gives me a reason to type and constantly reminds me how fortunate I am to be in this position.

Over the years you’ve listened to some of the most talented broadcasters in baseball come through Pawtucket, and living up to the standards they set has been the greatest — and most fulfilling — challenge of my career.

Thank you for making PawSox baseball on the radio part of your summer and for bringing me with you in the car, in your home, and everywhere else in between.

What a way to start my stay in Pawtucket.



Arnie Beyeler, Mike Tamburro, and PawSox general manager Lou Schwechheimer getting drenched during the trophy celebration on the field.

PawSox Win the 2012 I.L. Wildcard

It took 142 games to nail down a post-season berth, but who cares.

Saturday night the PawSox shutout the North Division champion Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 2-0, and in doing so, won the wild card.

PawSox players celebrating on the field after Saturday night’s won over the Yankees. (Jillian Souza)

As Pawtucket heads back to the Governors’ Cup playoffs for the second straight year, here are some facts, figures, and observations about this 2012 PawSox club:

  • 68 players have played for the PawSox this season — 70 is the franchise record set in both 1995 and 2006 (“so you’re sayin’ there’s a chance”).
  • 21 different players have been promoted to Boston this season (not including 10 called-up from injury rehab).
  • Five players in the Boston’s lineup Saturday night had played for Pawtucket in ’12.
  • Three of the Red Sox five pitchers Saturday had spent time with the PawSox this year.
  • The members PawSox six-man Opening Day rotation are currently spread over four different time zones:
      • Justin Germano: traded to the Cubs on July 19
      • Brandon Duckworth: signed with Japan
      • Doug Mathis: also signed with Japan
      • Alex Wilson: now in the PawSox bullpen
      • Aaron Cook: in Boston’s rotation
      • Ross Ohlendorf: opted out of his contract, signed with the Padres
  • Since August 1, the PawSox have received seven players from Double-A Portland currently on the active roster. They had 23 games of Triple-A experience, combined.
  • Pawtucket has won seven of its last eight games. During that time the PawSox…
      • Rotation has gone 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA (11 ER/50.2 IP) with six quality starts
      • Closers have gone 5-for-5 in save situations
      • Are hitting .271 (overall this year, Columbus leads the league batting .269)
  • Somehow I haven’t mentioned yet some of the position players now in Boston:
      • Mauro Gomez: 2012 International League MVP
      • Will Middlebrooks: We knew he wouldn’t last long
      • Ryan Lavarnway: Hit a league-best .405 in June
      • Pedro Ciriaco: The club’s offensive spark plug and played three positions
      • Jose Iglesias: One scout told me, “the best shortstop in all of baseball.”

The PawSox will host Scranton-Wilkes/Barre in the playoffs on September 5 and 6 in a best-of-five series. The two clubs will then travel to Rochester, Ny. to finish the series at Frontier Field.

A Red Sox vs. Yankees post-season will happen after all.




Gomez Named 2012 International League MVP

After an impressive 100 games with the PawSox, the International League announced Tuesday morning that 27-year-old Mauro Gomez is the league’s 2012 Most Valuable Player and a post-season All-Star (designated hitter).

Despite being called-up to Boston four different times, the first baseman/designated hitter ranks among the league leaders in most offensive categories. Gomez hit .310 (T-3rd) with 34 doubles (T-2nd), 24 homers (T-2nd), and 74 runs batted in (4th). He leads the league with a .589 slugging pct. and 59 extra-base hits, and is 3rd in total bases (228).

Signed by the Red Sox as a free agent last February after hitting .304 with 24 home runs and 90 runs batted in for the Gwinnett Braves in 2011, Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, made his Major League debut with Boston this May and, in 14 games with the Red Sox, is batting .292 with one homer and six runs batted.

In his two seasons in Triple-A, Gomez has hit .307 with 48 homers, 68 doubles, and 164 RBI. (Kelly O’Connor)

Gomez becomes the seventh player in franchise history to win International League’s Most Valuable Player award and joins shortstop Jose Iglesias and catcher Ryan Lavarnway as post-season All-Stars.

This is the first time since 2008 that the PawSox have had a post-season All-Star selection. In 2008, first baseman Jeff Bailey won the MVP, while second baseman Joe Thurston, outfielder Chris Carter, and right-hander Charlie Zink where all post-season All-Stars.

I’m thrilled for Gomez who always seemed to bring a smile — and a big bat — to the ballpark.



Ryan Lavarnway’s 2012 Quotes

Like any top prospect, it was a matter of “when” not “if” for Ryan Lavarnway. The question was answered Wednesday afternoon when it was made official that the PawSox catcher had been called-up to Boston.

Because he left for Boston shortly after Tuesday’s game in Rochester, I never had the chance to talk with Ryan after he received the good news. However, I did have the opportunity to interview him a number of times of the course of the season, and here are some of his most insightful responses to my questions over the last few months.

On being known as more than just a catcher who can hit:

“Catching is something I take a lot of pride in and that I’ve devoted a lot of work to over the last couple of years. Being known as a complete player is something I’ve been striving towards and I think I’m getting really close to people recognizing.

How he reacts to having a game where he hit the ball hard but finished 0-for-4:

“You try to focus on the process, and that’s having a good approach, having good at-bats, and making solid contact. Once it leaves your bat it’s out of your control. The more you try to control things that are out of your control, that just leads to frustration. Controlling the way you react to things is what keeps you successful.”

In his first full season as a catcher, Ryan Lavarnway threw out 32% of opposing base stealers. (Kelly O’Connor)

Perception versus reality: his skills behind the plate:

“I think a lot of time the recognition lags a little bit behind the actual results – which is maybe how it needs to be – but I feel very comfortable behind the plate.”

On his defensive improvements this year:

“My body has gotten used to catching everyday. I feel solid. I feel like my footwork is great, I’m receiving the ball well, throwing the ball well, blocking the ball well, and I’m excited to see where this year goes.”

How he likes catching everyday for the first time in his career:

“I’m loving it. It’s great to feel like I can make a positive impact on the game even if I don’t happen to get a hit that night. Defense doesn’t slump.”

How he has improved as a catcher since Opening Day:

“It’s continuing to working on consistency. Everyday going out there and trying to be that Type-A player. Throwing out runners, blocking balls, installing confidence in [the pitchers] that they can spike a pitch when they need to, and presenting the pitches well the the umpire.”

At the time of his August 1 call-up, Lavarnway was batting .295 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in for the PawSox. (Kelly O’Connor)

Describing his approach during June where he hit a career-best .405 with 18 RBI over 21 games:

“I finally remembered my mindset from last year. It took a little longer to come back than I would’ve liked, but I feel like I have the right aggression level up there now.”

On not seeing many good pitches to hit:

“I know a lot of times these teams aren’t going to want to let me beat them, but I have to at least trick myself into thinking they’re going to throw something that I can hit.”

No one knows if we’ll ever see Ryan Lavarnway at McCoy Stadium again. If he follows in the steps of Will Middlebrooks … we know how that turned out. No matter what the future holds for Lavarnway, he was a special player to not only watch, but also to get to know.

Baseball players, like most athletes, have the reputation of being nothing more than “jocks.” However, in Ryan’s case, there’s no doubt in my mind that if he never discovered baseball, he would have still found tremendous success in another walk of life.



With almost the same look on his face, the first words Ryan ever said to me were, “have you ever seen the movie ‘American Psyscho?'” He passionately argues that I resemble Christian Bale from the movie, but, unfortunately, not from “Batman.” (Kelly O’Connor)

Carl Crawford Rehabs with PawSox

Following the three-day All-Star break, the PawSox are back at it tonight versus the Buffalo Bisons from McCoy. Joining them this evening will be Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford who begins a new 20-day rehab assignment.

Crawford rehabbed from June 23-30 with the Gulf Coast Red Sox and continued from July 3-5 with Portland before suffering a left groin strain while running out a triple on July 5 in New Hampshire. Having not played for the past six days, Crawford is eligible to begin a new rehab assignment.

Originally a second-round pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, Crawford is yet to suit up for the Red Sox this season after suffering wrist, elbow, and groin injuries. (Kelly O’Connor)

The second-year Boston outfielder went 3-for-14 with five walks in five games for the Gulf Coast Red Sox, and 4-for-10 with a triple, RBI, and two walks in three games for Portland.

PawSox Notebook:

  • Ryan Lavarnway, Pawtucket’s lone mid-season All-Star not in Boston, finished last night’s Triple-A All-Star game 1-for-2 in front of a sell-out crowd of over 18,000 in Buffalo.
  • Red Sox pitching prospect Matt Barnes needed just two pitches to record two outs Sunday evening at the Futures Game in Kansas City.
  • Barnes’ Salem teammate, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, suited up for the World Team and finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts as the designated hitter.
Doug Mathis (6-6, 4.05 ERA) starts tonight for the PawSox and will be opposed by Jeremy Hefner (4-2, 2.50). First pitch is set for 7:05, we hit the air at 6:50 with the pre-game show.

Talk with you then.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers