While Erik Kratz lived the life of a second catcher, Ryan Lavarnway lived the life of a third catcher. Lavarnway appeared in six games for the Pirates in 2018, collecting four hits. One of those hits happened to be a walk off. However, the Pirates marked one of the many teams Lavarnway appeared in less than ten games for.
Lavarnway’s MLB career lasted from 2011 through 2021. He just barely made one full season of games during those 11 seasons with 165 appearances. In that time, he hit just .217/.272/.345. He also wasn’t much of a defender with -20 defensive runs saved and a negative defensive WAR. But Lavarnway is what many would consider a third string catcher.
Lavarnway was originally a Boston Red Sox prospect, which is where he spent most of his career. It is the only team who let him appear in at least 30 games with, having played 97 contest from 2011 through 2014. In 2015, Lavarnway made a few appearances with the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves.
After not appearing in 2016, Lavarnway would be passed around like a hot potato throughout the league. Each year from 2017 through 2021 would see Lavarnway with a new team. First was the Oakland Athletics. Then it was the Pirates, before moving on to the Cincinnati Reds. Cleveland was Lavarnway’s next stop before appearing in his final game for the Marlins. He appeared in 31 games across these five seasons.
Lavarnway’s status as a third catcher makes him a memorable name for Immaculate Grid. I doubt his name is one of the first that comes up when you think of Pirates/A’s players, or Guardians/Orioles players.