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Ryan Lavarnway

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Ryan Lavarnway with the Boston Red Sox in 2011

Ryan Cole Lavarnway (born August 7, 1987, in Burbank, California) is an American professional baseball catcher with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball.[1]

He attended Yale University, where in 2007 he won the NCAA batting title by hitting .467, and led the NCAA with an .873 slugging percentage. That year, Lavarnway also set the Ivy League record with a 25-game hitting streak. In addition, he is the Ivy League all-time career home run leader, with 33.

Lavarnway was drafted by the Red Sox in 2008. In 2009, he set all-time team records in doubles (36) and home runs (21) for the Greenville Drive, while leading all Red Sox minor leaguers with a .540 slugging percentage. In 2010, he was named the Red Sox co-Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, after leading the Carolina League in home runs and leading all Red Sox minor leaguers in RBIs (102) and slugging percentage (.489), while coming in second among Red Sox minor leaguers in home runs (22). By the 2011 All Star break, he was leading all players in the Red Sox organization (including major leaguers) in home runs, with 30.

He was called up to the major leagues by the Red Sox on August 18, 2011.[2][3]

Early lifeEdit

Lavarnway, who is Jewish, grew up in Woodland Hills, California.[4][5][6] He attended El Camino Real High School, where he played outfield for the "Conquistadors" baseball team.[7][8][9][10]

College careerEdit

Lavarnway attended Yale University, where he was a philosophy major and played baseball for the Yale Bulldogs in the Ivy League.[1][11][3] In 2006, he primarily played right field, and earned Ivy Player and Rookie of the Week honors on March 21.[7]

In 2007 he moved from right field to catcher.[3][12][2] Lavarnway led the NCAA in batting average (.467) and slugging percentage (.873), while setting Yale single-season records in those categories as well as in home runs (14), hits (70), doubles (17), RBIs (55), and total bases (131).[7][13] He also had an Ivy-League-record 25-game hitting streak.[7] He won the G.H. Walker, Jr. Award as Most Valuable Player.[7] In addition, he was named Second-Team All-American by PingBaseball.com, Third-Team All-American by Baseball America, First-Team All-American by Jewish Sports Review, and Second-Team All-New England and Second-Team All-Northeast, while unanimously being elected First-Team All-Ivy.[7][4]

Lavarnway played for the Manchester Silkworms in the New England Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 2007, where he batted .313 and was honored as a starter on the league All Star team.[14][15]

In his junior year in 2008, Lavarnway led the Ivy League in home runs (13), RBIs (42), walks (29), slugging percentage (.824), and on-base percentage (.541), while batting .398.[7][13] He missed the last 11 games of the year after breaking his wrist diving into home plate.[13][3] He became the Ivy League's all-time leader in career home runs, with 33.[7]

Lavarnway won the Ivy League Player of the Week award three times in the first season's first four weeks (March 11, March 26, and April 1).[7] He was a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award and the Golden Spikes Award, was named Third-Team All-American by PingBaseball.com, and was named Second-Team All-Ivy and First Team All-New England.[7][11] He finished his three-year-career with a .384 batting average, 33 home runs, and 122 RBIs in 120 games.[16]

Minor league careerEdit

Lavarnway was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 6th round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft.[1] He signed for a $325,000 signing bonus, though he vows to study the extra year he needs to complete his degree.[10][3] He had been projected to be drafted higher, before he broke his left wrist in April 2008.[17][18]

In 2009, he played for the Greenville Drive for the year, in the Class A South Atlantic League. Lavarnway hit 21 home runs (a team all-time record) with a .540 slugging percentage (both tops for Red Sox minor leaguers) and 36 doubles (a team record), a league-leading 59 extra-base hits, and 87 RBIs (2nd in the league) in 404 at bats.[19][20][21][22][23]

Lavarnway split 2010 between the Salem Red Sox of the Class A+ Carolina League, and the Portland Sea Dogs of the Class AA Eastern League, combining for 22 home runs (2nd among Red Sox minor leaguers; his 14 homers in his Carolina League stint led the league), 102 RBIs (first in the Red Sox system, and 11th among all minor leaguers), and a .489 slugging percentage (tops among Red Sox minor leaguers) in 462 at bats.[19][11] He was a Carolina League Player of the Week (April 19), Mid-Season All Star, and Post-Season All Star, as well as an Eastern League Player of the Week (August 30).[24][11] For 2010, he was named the Red Sox co-Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, along with first baseman Anthony Rizzo.[25][11] He also threw out 33% of attempted base-stealers, and was rated as the top Red Sox catching prospect by Baseball America.[20][11][26]

He also played for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League after the regular season ended, and was an "AFL Rising Star" in November.[24][11][27]

Lavarnway started the 2011 season by splitting it between Portland and the Pawtucket Red Sox in the Class AAA International League, for whom he batted third in the lineup.[19][3] With Portland, he hit 14 home runs with a .510 slugging percentage in 208 at bats, and with Pawtucket he hit 16 home runs with a .608 slugging percentage in 209 at bats. That was good for a combined total in mid-August of 30 home runs (tied for third-most in the minors), 85 RBIs, and a .559 slugging percentage in 478 at bats.[19][25][28] By the All Star break, he was leading all players in the Red Sox organization, including major leaguers, in home runs.[3]

He was also voted the International League Player of the Week on July 25, and received Topps Minor League Player of the Month honors for July.[24][29] Baseball America named him the best power prospect in the International League.[30] Defensively, his "pop times" on his throws from home-to-second-base were consistently 1.95–1.97 seconds, which corresponded to the major league average, and through mid-August he had made only one error behind the plate.[31][6]

Pawtucket hitting coach Chili Davis said of Lavarnway: "The discipline he shows up there [at bat] is big-league discipline. The kid can hit."[32] Manager Arnie Beyeler observed: "The way he's hit the ball, it looks like he's playing tee-ball out there."[32] Former major leaguer Ken Ryan compared him to Mike Lieberthal, whose offensive ability was far ahead of his catching ability when he first made it to the major leagues, but who over time established himself as a defensive catcher as well.[33] Baseball America named him the catcher on its 2011 Minor League All-Star Team, noting that he "stands well above the field".[34]

Major league careerEdit

Boston Red Sox (2011–present)Edit

On August 18, 2011, Lavarnway was called up to the Red Sox. He filled the roster spot of Kevin Youkilis, who went on the disabled list. Since Lavarnway was born, the only other Yale alumni to have played in the majors have been pitchers Ron Darling (1983–95) and Craig Breslow (2005–present).[35]

On August 19, he collected his first career hit, a single off Kansas City Royals' pitcher Jeff Francis.[36]

On September 27, with both Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia injured, Lavarnway started for the Red Sox and hit his first two major league home runs with 4 RBI in a key 8-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.[37] Lavarnway became the first Red Sox player to homer in his first start at catcher since Danny Sheaffer in 1987, and the youngest to have a multi-home run game since Nomar Garciaparra did it at precisely the same age (24 years, 51 days) in 1997.[38]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Baseball Prospectus (2011). Baseball Prospectus 2011. John Wiley and Sons. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Boston Promotes Ryan Lavarnway. Fangraphs.com (August 19, 2011). Retrieved on August 26, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Marty Dobrow. "Two Boston Red Sox prospects and former Ivy League rivals find common ground", ESPN, July 19, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jewish Sports Review Tabs Adam Amar and Joey Lieberman 2007 All-Americans. CSTV (July 17, 2007). Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  5. Ron Kaplan (August 18, 2011). One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Red Sox prospect Ryan Lavarnway gets call-up, will play tonight", Jewish Baseball News, August 16, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Ryan Lavarnway. Yalebulldogs.com (April 6, 2007). Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  8. Peter Yoon; Eric Sondheimer. "High School Report; Meusborn Close to His Sixth Title", Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2005. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  9. Eric Sondheimer. "Keeping tabs: Ryan Lavarnway", Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2011. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ryan Lavarnway Awards. The Baseball Cube. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Ryan Lavarnway Stats, Bio. mlb.com. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  12. Sachs, Pete. "Seamless Transition for Lavarnway", minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Lavarnway Among Golden Spikes Award Semifinalists", CSTV, May 21, 2008. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  14. Andrew Merritt. "Borrell helps South win for teammate's late mother", The Berkshire Eagle, July 23, 2007. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  15. Paul Doyle. "On the Fly: Lavarnway Adds More Ivy To Red Sox", Hartford Courant, August 18, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  16. Dom Amore. "Red Sox Prospect Lavarnway Knows The Drill", Hartford Courant, February 27, 2011. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  17. Gordon Edes. "Boston Red Sox – Gambling is permitted", The Boston Globe, June 8, 2008. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  18. "Bulldogs, Big Green Split Again", CSTV, April 20, 2008. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Ryan Lavarnway Minor League Statistics & History. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Michael Vega. "Lavarnway swings into action with Pawtucket", Boston Globe, June 17, 2011. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  21. "Lavarnway and Middlebrooks' Back-to-Back Jacks Give Greenville 3–2 Win", OurSports Central, September 10, 2009. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  22. "Oscar Tejeda's 12th Inning Single Secures 7–6 Walk-Off Victory", OurSports Central, September 3, 2009. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  23. Smith, Daren. "Salem's Lavarnway off to torrid start", minorleaguebaseball.com, April 16, 2010. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Ryan Lavarnway Stats, Bio | Pawtucket Red Sox Stats. minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Surging PawSox Sweep IL Weekly Awards", OurSports Central, July 25, 2011. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  26. Fenton, Jim. "Francona not ready to retire ... yet", The Patriot Ledger, September 18, 2010. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  27. Peter Abraham. "Red Sox hire Young as pitching coach", Boston Globe, November 3, 2010. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  28. Tim Britton. "With injuries piling up, Lavarnway finally gets his shot", The Providence Journal, August 18, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  29. "July Topps Player of the Month Winners", minorleaguebaseball.com, February 15, 2010. Retrieved on August 19, 2011.
  30. Chip Malafronte. "Wallingford's Tyler Mizenko begins pro journey", Connecticut Post-Chronicle, August 14, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  31. Flannery, Paul. "Why Ryan Lavarnway became one who didn't get away from Red Sox", WEEI, August 15, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Brian MacPherson. "Impressive discipline and eye-popping results have put Ryan Lavarnway on big-league track", The Providence Journal, July 21, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  33. McGair, Brendan. "Putting the trade deadline in perspective", July 28, 2011. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  34. [1]
  35. Kerzel, Pete (May 19, 2010). Carolina League notebook. minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  36. Nick Cafardo. "Red Sox 7, Royals 1 – Extra Bases", Boston Globe. Retrieved on August 20, 2011.
  37. Peter Abraham. "All square: Sox straighten out, stay tied with one to go", Boston Globe, September 28, 2011. Retrieved on September 28, 2011.
  38. [2]

External linksEdit

Template:Boston Red Sox roster navbox

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