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Ryan Lavarnway named best defensive catcher in International League; Jackie Bradley Jr. best everything in Carolina League

08.08.12 at 12:08 pm ET

One honor stood out above all others in the Red Sox system in Baseball America’s annual Minor League Tools Survey. While a number of Red Sox prospects were recognized in a number of categories, the most notable was the recognition by International League managers of Ryan Lavarnway as the best defensive catcher at that level.

Lavarnway, of course, has long faced considerable questions about his defensive abilities. But he has worked tirelessly over the course of his professional career, since being drafted in 2008, to improve. While he spent most of his year in a time-share at the position, this year in Pawtucket, he was an everyday catcher this year in Triple-A, having set a career high for games caught in a season with 80, 14 more than he’d ever before caught in the minors.

Being an everyday catcher — and dispelling the notion of his defensive shortcomings — has been a long undertaking for Lavarnway. To get the opportunity to catch everyday in Pawtucket, as a sort of final stop in his grooming for a major league role, meant quite a bit to him.

“It’€™s something that I’€™ve wanted for a while and it was hard-earned and hard-won,” Lavarnway said of catching everyday. “This is what I have wanted and this is what I have been trying to earn for a long time.”

He earned the respect of his league in the process, resulting in an award that reflects a tremendous amount of work over the past four years.

Other Red Sox (and sort-of Red Sox) prospects who were recognized (for the complete Tools Survey, click here):


Best defensive catcher: Lavarnway
Best defensive first baseman: Lars Anderson (now with the Indians)
Best defensive second baseman: Pedro Ciriaco

Best defensive shortstop: Jose Iglesias
Best strike zone judgment: Alex Hassan


Best outfield arm: Bryce Brentz


Best hitting prospect: Jackie Bradley Jr.
Best strike-zone judgment: Bradley
Best baserunner: Bradley
Best reliever: Michael Olmsted
Best defensive catcher: Christian Vazquez
Best defensive first baseman: Travis Shaw
Best defensive outfielder: Bradley
Best outfield arm: Bradley
Most exciting player: Bradley


Best infield arm: Garin Cecchini


Miles Head, part of the deal with the A’s for Andrew Bailey, was named Best Hitting Prospect in the High-A Carolina League

Brian Daubach, former Red Sox first baseman, was named the Best Managerial Prospect in the Single-A South Atlantic League

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