It seemed inevitable once Dan Butler was pushed to the majors in place of David Ross, but now it's official: Portland Sea Dogs catcher Blake Swihart is now the PawSox backstop, as the Red Sox promoted him to Triple-A. Well, it's not "official" in the sense the Red Sox have said it's happened, but it's the only reason the Pawtucket Times' Brendan McGair would see Swihart in the PawSox clubhouse.
Swihart teased potential at the plate in 2012 and 2013, but broke out in a huge way in the Eastern League with Portland. Swihart batted .300/.353/.487 with a career-high 12 homers -- his previous high was seven -- while catching 81 of Portland's 116 games and lining up as the DH in another 11. That doesn't tell the whole story, though: Swihart had hit well but without much patience in his approach for the season's first two months, but from June 3 through his promotion, the switch-hitting catcher batted .313/.379/.514 with seven dingers and 21 extra-base hits while drawing walks 10 percent of the time.
He's shown power from both sides of the plate this season, and while he's been walking less against lefties, he's also been striking out less often and has more homers from that side despite 98 fewer plate appearances. Enough about his bat, though: Swihart's glove is also great, with the 22-year-old making noticeable gains in handling pitchers and their pitches as the year went on, while also gunning down 47 percent of basestealers. There's potential for a legit two-way threat here, and if he handles Pawtucket like he did Portland, he could be in the majors before this time next year.
If not, though, then Christian Vazquez can hold down the starting gig in Boston for the season while Swihart adjusts as necessary. What are the Sox going to do with both of them, you ask? Don't worry about that just yet.