A.J. Pierzynski: Better Than We Thought?

He's not the best catcher, but could he be better than we all think he is?

So maybe A.J. Pierzynski is more than just a stopgap for Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.

Pierzynski, who was signed this offseason to a one-year contract, took the reigns from Jarrod Saltalamachia as the starting catcher for the Sox this season. After an impressive season with Texas, it was clear that the 37-year old still had some gas left in the tank. The one-year deal however gave off the idea that Boston’s management was just waiting for elite catching prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to reach the MLB.

Through a few months into the season, A.J. has shown that he’s here to be a legitimate addition to this squad. Through 47 games, the 17-year veteran has batted .282, with 7 doubles, 4 home runs, and a triple (which was a game winner, by the way). While those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page at you, it’s what he’s been doing recently that makes him worth the money:

In the past week, Pierzynski has posted a .375 average, with three runs batted in, and the aforementioned game-winning triple. Yeah, he’s been hot. He may not be hitting with a ton of power, but his timely hits helped the team on their 7-game winning streak. In a lineup with Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, it’s certainly interesting to see names like A.J. Pierzynski, Xander Bogaerts, and Brock Holt leading the team in the batters box.

Nonetheless, it seems like the A.J. signing might be paying off. He’s been one of the most consistent hitters on an otherwise inconsistent lineup. He’s also been relatively healthy, in a season that seems to be filled with injuries to key players. There’s been only 11 games that Pierzysnki hasn’t appeared in. Those numbers are impressive for most players, but when you consider the fact that he’s a 37-year old catcher, they are amazing.

There’s no doubting that A.J. is nearing the end of his successful career. While his tenure with his Red Sox won’t exactly be a long one, it could go down as an underrated, successful one, and more than just a stall for young talent.

Categories: A.J. Pierzynski

Sports writer, watcher, critic, and the occasional player (but there's a reason why I'm behind a keyboard and not on the field). Springfield College class of 2018, Sports Management major. If I'm not writing somewhere, I'm probably sleeping. PBWA and IBWAA member.

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