Christian Vazquez: Puerto Rico Wrap-Up


Christian Vazquez doesn’t have much left to prove on the defensive side. The 15 of 29 runners caught stealing (52%) would have led the league if he had caught enough games (Caleb Joseph 40.4%). League average is 27 percent. Vazquez’s new catching partner Ryan Hanigan is second among active catchers in caught stealing percentage (37%), so the Red Sox should have good control over the opponent’s running game. What Vazquez showed in the Roberto Clemente Baseball League in the last month is that he could hit consistently.

Vazquez’ team, the San Juan Senadores, ended the regular season in last place, leaving them out of the playoffs which ended his season. Vazquez’ numbers .288/.365/.369 (six doubles, one HR, 12 RBI) are not spectacular in the abstract, but in the five team Puerto Rican league, he ranked ninth in average among 31 qualified hitters, second among catchers. For a hitter who struggled to a .617 OPS in his 55 games in the majors last year, this has to be considered progress. Another encouraging trend on the offensive side for Vazquez was his .736 OPS in the final month of the season. After a .489 OPS in August, Vazquez made some adjustments to how pitchers were attacking him, manifesting in better results.

Offensive production from the catcher position is something of a luxury, but you certainly don’t want a hole in your lineup. If Vazquez can hold his own at the plate, it will augment the excellent skills he has behind the plate. If Hanigan can stay healthy, this will mean the Red Sox will be very strong in handling their re-tooled pitching staff.