JUST THE FACTS… (UPDATED JANUARY 18, 2010)
— After a two-home run game on April 10, 2010 (his first game of the 2010 regular season), Jason now has 1,234 career hits, moving him past Manny Ramirez(1,233) for 17th on the Red Sox’ All-Time list. (16th is Duffy Lewis with 1,248).
— As of April 10, 2010: Jason also has 2,081 total bases, moving him past Mo Vaughn (2,074) for 15th place (14th Frank Malzone, 2,123).
— Since July 31, 1997 after being aquired from Seattle, Jason has hit .259 (1,232-for-4,765) with 175 home runs and 705 RBI in 1,439 career Major League games over parts of 13 seasons with the Red Sox. He has been behind the plate in a club-record 1,381 contests and ranks among franchise all-time leaders in overall games played (9th), doubles (8th, 290), home runs (12th), RBI (15th) and walks (15th, 583).
— In 2009, Jason batted .226 with a .793 OPS from the right side, with an .807 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Of the nine catchers who qualified for the batting title, only Joe Mauer, Martinez and Brian McCann had better than an .807 OPS.
— Although Victor Martinez assumed the role of the starting catcher during the late 2009 season, the pitching staff ERA of 3.87 when Jason was behind the plate was much better than that of his successor (5.22 with Martinez).
— Also of note at end of the 2009 season: Opposing batters had a .806 on-base plus slugging percentage when Martinez caught, versus a .730 OPS when Jason caught.
— In 2009, Jason led ALL A.L. catchers in Catcher ERA with a 3.87 mark.
— In 2009, Jason batted .226 with a .793 OPS from the right side, with an .807 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Of the nine catchers who qualified for the batting title, only Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez and Brian McCann had better than an .807 OPS.
— Since Jason arrived in 1997, the Red Sox have reached the post season eight times, including six of the past seven years!
— Jason has caught more no-hitters than any other catcher in MLB’s history with 4: Hideo Nomo (April 4, 2001 – against Baltimore), Derek Lowe (April 27, 2002 against Tampa Bay), Clay Buchholz (September 1, 2007 – against Baltimore) and Jon Lester (May 19, 2008 – against Kansas City).
— From 2004 to 2008, including playoffs, the Red Sox have a .596 winning percentage in games in which Varitek has appeared and a .508 winning percentage when he did not. This season, the Red Sox went 78-53 with him in the regular season, 17-14 without him.
—The Sox were 73-47 (.608 winning percentage) in games started by Varitek in 2008, and 22-20 (.524) when Kevin Cash was behind the dish (mostly while paired with Tim Wakefield). Since Varitek broke into the majors, the Sox have a 707-468 record (.602) in games that he has started.
— The Red Sox are 231 games over .500 in Varitek’s seasons.
— When the Red Sox pitch to ‘Tek, their OPS is better by .050. When the Yankees pitch to Posada, their OPS was .081 worse than when they pitched to Molina. When the White Sox pitch to Pierzinski, their OPS is .033 worse.
— Among AL catchers with 800 innings or more in 2008, Jason had the best range factor, second best fielding percentage, fewest passed balls, and second fewest errors. He’s also been among the most durable AL catchers this season, 3rd out of 50 in games played.
RED SOX PITCHING PERFORMANCE BY CATCHER – 2008
Red Sox pitchers’ performance by catcher for 2008 – minimum of 20 at-bats with Jason Varitek and Kevin Cash;
Stats listed as Average/OBP/Slugging/OPS:
Pitcher ———- Varitek Catching ——– Cash Catching
Jon Lester — .250/.316/.351/.667 —- .311/.363/.527/.890
Daisuke Matsuzaka — .209/.317/.321/.638 —- .261/.414/.391/.805
Clay Buchholz — .305/.382/.484/.866 —- .250/.372/.306/.678
Bartolo Colon — .278/.331/.444/.755 —- .304/.320/.348/.668
Jonathan Papelbon — .220/.242/.317/.559 —- .236/.259/.309/.568
Manny Delcarmen — .204/.284/.320/.605 —- .221/.303/.338/.641
Javier Lopez — .236/.316/.350/.667 —- .306/.414/.449/.863
Hideki Okajima — .174/.242/.250/.492 —- .358/.435/.623/1.058
David Aardsma — .234/.361/.351/.712 —- .299/.435/.537/.973
Justin Masterson — .212/.320/.342/.662 —- .219/.321/.411/.732
Mike Timlin — .362/.440/.606/1.047 —- .225/.253/.393/.646
From Worcester Telegram & Gazette sportswriter Bill Ballou in his book, “Behind the Green Monster: Red Sox Myths, Legends, and Lore” released March, 2009, Chicago: Triumph Books.
“As the 2008 season ended, Jason Varitek was a free agent at the end of a four-year contract. He had caught more games than any other Red Sox catcher (1,273); had hit more home runs (158) than any other Red Sox catcher; led the franchise list in home runs by a switch hitter (161), and was tied for second with Manny Ramirez on the team’s all-time list for post-season homers (11).
“In Varitek’s case, the numbers that mattered most were not batting average or RBI’s or home runs. From 1998, when he caught his first game for Boston, through 2008, the Red Sox were 705-468 (.601) when Varitek was the catcher, 256-302 (.459) when he was not.
“It’s little wonder why he was an All-Star — no matter what his batting average was — and why he joined Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice as Red Sox players who were selected as captains.”
The Captain – July 4th, 2009…
– has 688 career RBI, moving him past Wade Boggs (687) for 16th place on the Red Sox all-time list (15th – Nomar Garciaparra, 690).
– is on pace for 28 home runs with an OPS of .833. He is currently ranked 4th among Major League catchers with at least 200 plate appearances in OPS, behind only Mauer (1.118), McCann (.896), and Napoli (.876).
– has only has 1 error, which equates to a .998 Fielding% (the best in the majors for all catchers).
– has allowed no passed balls yet this year. His WP+PB/G is a mere .227 (also the best in the majors). In case you are unfamiliar with this stat, it means Wild Pitches + Passed Balls allowed per game, or in layman’s terms, Jason Varitek is the best catcher in baseball at minimizing passed balls and wild pitches from his pitching staff.
– leads the American League in CERA (Catcher Earned Run Average) which means the pitching staff’s ERA when he is catching and calling the game for them) is 3.85.
July 20, 2009…
Through the All-Star break this year, Jason has a catcher’s ERA of 3.80 — the ERA of Red Sox pitchers when he is behind the plate — a number that is the best in the American League among though who have caught at least 50 games. (By contrast, the catcher’s ERA of George Kottaras is more than a full run higher, 4.89, though he works almost exclusively with Tim Wakefield.) According to the Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti, “That number is not a commentary on Varitek so much as it a reflection of the harmony that generally exists between Red Sox pitchers and their starting catcher, a man widely regarded throughout baseball as one of the best in the game when it comes to handling a pitching staff.”