Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: The Magic of Jarrod Saltalamacchia

kris10bentley
Aug 29, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) celebrates after he hits a two run home run in the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 29, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) celebrates after he hits a two run home run in the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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When the Detroit Tigers signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia, fans were a bit perplexed about the move.

The veteran catcher was best known by Detroit Tigers fans for his performance on the Boston Red Sox team that defeated the Tigers in the ALCS in 2013. He tagged out Prince Fielder in the unforgettable flop to third.

In 2015, Salty was passed around between the Miami Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He left the Marlins with a .069 batting average. He ended 2015 with a .225 batting average and an OPS of .745.

When the Tigers snapped him up, he joined the team that already had two catchers, James McCann and Bryan Holaday. Then, the Tigers DFA’d Holaday and decided to platoon McCann and Salty. While McCann is a lights-out catcher, his performances at the plate had growth potential. Salty was brought on board because of the fact that he can hit from both sides of the plate.

Salty Delivers Big Moments

While Salty has not had stellar numbers at the plate (his current slash is .192/.306/.404 with an OPS of .710) – fans have quickly warmed up to him. His clutch at-bats are practically legendary. Currently, he has 242 plate appearances with 86 strikeouts and 39 hits. But, his most memorable moments have been late-inning home runs that have changed the course of several games. And, of those 243 plate appearances, only 12 of them have resulted in home runs.

Helping the Young Pitchers Succeed

There is something about Saltalamacchia that brings a feeling of comfort to the game. He has been the go-to catcher for Matt Boyd, who has an ERA of 2.79 in August. With Salty behind the plate, Boyd has excelled. There is something soothing as a fan to see a veteran catcher work with a young pitcher and would love to see him work with Michael Fulmer, too.

Saltalamacchia has been Brad Ausmus‘s pinch-hitter of choice this season. And, for good reason. Despite that sub-.200 batting average, he has had seven go-ahead hits. His home runs have come at very important moments.

Of course, he has had several moments that have not panned out, but the home runs have been memorable. His first was against the Miami Marlins who are currently paying him NOT to play for them. His most recent was last night against the Chicago White Sox, when he hit a two-run bomb that gave the Tigers the lead in the eighth.

Ausmus said about Salty: “We always seemed to be one hit away from scoring a couple runs and Salty came up huge. He’s done that a number of times this year with a home run. For a backup catcher, he’s had some production. He’s contributed to the offense quite a bit.”

Next: JaCoby Jones & His Potential Impact

With 30 games left in the regular season, I can’t wait to see a few more Salty bombs!

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