A couple weeks back we talked about how nice it was that the Red Sox finally had a plan for their future behind the plate. Blake Swihart slotted in at #6 on our top prospect list, and with his name littering top-100 lists, it's clear the Red Sox have an heir apparent at the position, even if he is coming years after Jason Varitek's abdication.
Swihart, however, is not the only one with an eye for the position. The build for Christian Vazquez has been slow, but it's been steady, and with the Red Sox relying on a pair of old hands at catcher for 2014, chances are his time is coming very soon.
Where Swihart's the sort of player who could still make a career for himself at another position were it absolutely necessary, Christian Vazquez does not have that luxury. He simply is a catcher. He announced himself in that role this past spring training by showing off his ability to control baserunners, but he also brings a lot to the plate when it comes to those less flashy aspects of the position.
The question with Vazquez has always been what he can bring to the table with the bat. Even if the answer there is nothing, he likely has a future as a backup catcher, but the situation is not necessarily quite so dire. Vazquez has been producing surprisingly solid numbers at the plate ever since 2011 when he clubbed 18 homers in Greenville. Last year saw him produce a career-high .376 OBP with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, and while he's never going to be a big offensive threat, he's certainly shown that production is not an impossibility.
Vazquez is not a star. He's not going to rocket up the prospect rankings this year, and he's not going to set the world on fire when he makes it to the majors. What he will do is make everything much more comfortable for the Red Sox and their fans. He is redundancy and reliability. A high-floor prospect at a position where teams are forced to trot out some truly atrocious players. Whether it's as the Red Sox' catcher of the future, or as the backup of the future, he's almost certain to contribute for years to come.
- Xander Bogaerts, SS
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Matt Barnes, RHP
- Blake Swihart, C
- Allen Webster, RHP
- Brandon Workman, RHP
- Mookie Betts, 2B
- Trey Ball, LHP
- Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
- Christian Vazquez, 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.