The Red Sox have assembled one of the best collections of catchers in all of baseball. And if you think that speaks to the paucity of passable backstops in the game as much as it does Boston’s roster construction, you’re right.

Not many organizations would be able to keep a player like Ryan Lavarnway in the minors. Photo by Kelly O'Connor,

Not many organizations would be able to keep a player like Ryan Lavarnway in the minors. Photo by Kelly O’Connor,

As you all know, the Red Sox currently have Jarrod Saltalamacchia slated as their starter, David Ross penciled in as their backup – albeit one who’ll see considerable playing time for someone in that roll – and post-prospect Ryan Lavarnway waiting for injury or opportunity in Triple-A.

Perhaps this is not the most inspiring list of names in the world, as none among Salty, Ross or Lavarnway profile as someone capable of performing like a Top 15 catcher in the league. They all could profile as Top 20 options, though, and in that the Red Sox have something exceedingly rare.

I’m not going to waste any more time setting this up: let’s just look at how the Sox’ backstop depth ranks against others in the AL East.

AL East Catcher Depth Charts






M. Wieters J. Salty F. Cervelli J. Molina J. Arencibia
T. Teagarden D. Ross C. Stewart J. Lobaton J. Thole
L. Exposito R. Lavarnway A. Romine R. Chirinos H. Blanco

Now let’s stack Boston’s roster against four other organizations I personally consider to have enviable catching depth.It’s pretty clear to me that Boston has the best catching depth in the division, with Toronto a very distant second. Baltimore has the best catcher overall and Jose Lobaton and Robinson Chirinos are interesting players for the Rays, but they can’t compare. And after letting Russell Martin sign with the Pirates in the offseason, the Yankees have possibly the worst catching squad in the game.

MLB Deepest Catcher Depth Charts






J. Salty W. Rosario J. Mauer J. Montero Y. Grandal*
D. Ross R. Hernandez R. Doumit K. Shoppach N. Hundley
R. Lavarnway J. Pacheco J. Butera** M. Zunino J. Baker

We’re still looking pretty good, right? Mauer is the best player obviously, and I’d argue San Diego has the best overall depth once Yasmani Grandal returns from his suspension, but Boston clearly belongs in this discussion.*Faces 50-game suspension for PED use.

**Fine, not really close to starting-caliber catcher, but it’s damn hard to find three in an organization so shhh.

By extending our search to Top Three catching options, we’re obviously painting a pretty rosy picture for the Red Sox. Despite Boston’s enviable depth, just about anyone would take the Giants’ duo of Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez over what we have, and you can make an argument for the Carlos Santana/Lou Marson or Ryan Hanigan/Devin Mesoraco combos, and a few others as well.

At the same time, we’ve compared lists without factoring in Mike Napoli who, balky hips and all, should be able to catch 25-35 games this season without collapsing into a pile of beard and tattoo behind home plate. If you want to dig even deeper, the Red Sox also have one of the best five-to-seven catching prospects in the game in Blake Swihart, although he’s still two-plus years away.

An organization that goes four-deep in at least fringe-acceptable starting catchers is impressive, and will afford the Red Sox tremendous flexibility if someone is injured or a plethora of trade opportunities if everyone stays healthy.

After becoming familiar with names such as Kevin Cash, Dusty Brown, Gustavo Molina and The Artist Backstop Formerly Known As Jason Varitek in recent years, such luxuries should be easy to appreciate.