The Red Sox have been searching for a catcher for a long time. For better than a decade, there could be no question of who would start behind the plate. Jason Varitek was the total package, providing solid offense, top-line defense, and a strong guiding hand for the pitching staff.
Since then, the Red Sox have lived with uncertainty. Victor Martinez was always a mixed bag--a designated hitter playing the position more out of habit than ability. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was similar, and while he managed to provide more than might have been expected when the Red Sox first picked him up, he was never the answer there in truth.
Who is going to be the answer? The Red Sox sorely hope it's Blake Swihart, who has taken the sixth spot on our top-20 list.
It's possible Swihart will end up playing elsewhere, but not for the same reasons as a Victor Martinez or Ryan Lavarnway. Unlike those two, Swihart has the chops to make it behind the plate, he just might not have the body long-term. And with a his bat being as intriguing as it is, a desire to avoid physical complications might make the Red Sox place him elsewhere.
That's a little hard to imagine, though, giving how long they've been looking for a true Varitek replacement. Christian Vazquez could have something to say about that if he manages to hit better than many expect him too, but barring that scenario the Red Sox can't be ready to surrender the upside he provides behind the plate. He's still got a couple years to go before Fenway is realistic, but after placing hopes on a mid-level prospect like Luis Exposito and a DH like Ryan Lavarnway, having a legitimate high-quality prospect like Swihart filling the role of "catcher of the future" is a welcome change.
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Matt Barnes, RHP
- Blake Swihart, C
By now you all know how this works: I'll name candidates in the comments below, and you rec the comment of the player you want to vote for. For those unfamiliar with how to go about that, just click "actions" underneath the comment and then "rec." Nice and easy, though you do have to be a member to join in.
On the off chance I forget or otherwise leave someone out, you are free to start your own voting thread for that player. I'll even give it a rec of my own to make up for your vote.
As for rules, please stick to just the one vote. That's about it.