Earlier in 2014, Ryan Lavarnway found himself playing for the Boston Red Sox. With Mike Napoli on the DL with a finger injury, the 26-year-old earned a roster spot by way of attrition.
Unfortunately for Lavarnway, he appeared in just four games before he went down with an injury, joining Napoli (and many other Red Sox players) on the DL with a broken wrist. Playing in a reserve role and getting just four at-bats, Lavarnway didn’t get much chance to show much of anything besides a very hideous mustache.
While we haven’t seen Lavarnway since he went down, don’t expect it to be the last of the Yale grad in Boston in 2014.
Since returning to the field in late July, Lavarnway has torn the cover off the ball for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. In 16 games, Lavarnway is hitting .354 (17-for-48) with four extra-base hits, one home run and six RBIs. He’s reached base in nine straight games, with four multi-hit contests in his last seven games.
Lavarnway has looked more like the player who hit 75 home runs and drove in 282 over a three-season stretch across three minor league levels between 2009-11, which made him a top-100 prospect prior to the 2012 season. His production has dipped over the past couple of seasons as he’s been unable to remain on the field. The underperformance, in conjunction with the emergence of several good Red Sox prospects , has caused the former catcher to become an afterthought within the organization.
While it’s been just roughly 60 plate appearances — not an outstanding sample size — it could be a sign that Lavarnway has regained that pre-2012 form. It’s for that reason that the Red Sox will likely bring him back to the big leagues when the rosters expand in September. Like many of the young players who have impressed in the minors this season, the team needs to take a look at what they have — or at least what they could give to another team.
Pat O’Rourke is a Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter or join his network on Google.