Jarrod Saltalamacchia collects rare 40-double season for catcher

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia originally thought he hit his 15th homer in the third inning Friday against the Orioles. When the call was correctly overturned and ruled a double instead, he accomplished a much more interesting feat.

Saltalamacchia became just the 15th catcher (13th different) to put together a 40-double season since 1901. The other active catchers to pull it off are Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Brian McCann and Yadier Molina. Jorge Posada and Ivan Rodriguez both did it twice.

Never much of a doubles guy previously, Salty actually had 40 two-baggers (and 41 homers) between 2011 and 2012 combined. He averaged one double every 19.5 at-bats in the first six seasons of his career. This year, he’s at one every 10.5 at-bats. It should be noted that he’s playing in a terrific park for doubles in Fenway, but a mere 21 of those 40 doubles have come at home.

Salty will finish this season with career highs in average, runs scored and RBI as he heads into free agency for the first time. He’s upped his stock enough that the Red Sox will probably make him an approx. $14 million qualifying offer this winter, securing them a draft pick if he leaves. A three-year deal in the $30 million-$36 million range seems appropriate.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.