Over the past four seasons, David Ross was the backup to a power-hitting catcher with defensive shortcomings.

Sound familiar, Red Sox fans?

But Brian McCann has been an All-Star catcher for the Atlanta Braves, and Ross believes Jarrod Saltalamacchia has the ability to fulfill the same potential with the Red Sox.

“Guy hit 25 jacks last year,” Ross said of Saltalamacchia. “When you can be a catcher and still put up offensive numbers, especially power numbers, and be a force back there, that’s impressive. This game is hard, in general. But catching is really, really tough. The position beats you down.”

When the Red Sox signed Ross to a two-year, $6.2 million contract in November, they said he would catch more than the average backup. They also added to their catcher surplus, positioning themselves to trade Saltalamacchia and finally bring touted Ryan Lavarnway to the majors.

But Saltalamacchia is eligible for free agency after the season. He also has posted a .288 on-base percentage in each of the past two years, and his defense isn’t particularly well-regarded, seemingly lowering his trade value. And while there’s still the possibility of a trade, it’s likely Saltalamacchia will stay put and Lavarnway will head back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Regardless, Ross has been impressed with Saltalamacchia during the first few days of camp.

“Good hard, hard worker, which I’ve seen already,” said Ross, known for his defense and game-calling. “Talking it out, he’s got experience. I’ve been privileged enough to be around some good catchers. He’s one of those.”