Red Sox 25 in 25: Christian Vazquez


2014 RECAP:

Christian Vazquez was one of the “kids” that Red Sox Nation was clamoring for once the team crashed to the bottom of the standings in 2014. After the AJ Pierzynski experiment failed miserably, the Red Sox decided to give him a shot so they could get a better sense of his development. Vazquez proved that his defensive ability alone was enough to earn him a spot in the big leagues. However, Vazquez did struggle at the plate at times.

The 24 year old was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and was drafted by Boston in the 9th round of the 2008 amateur draft. Vazquez moved along the in minors rather quickly, especially considering the approach the Red Sox usually use with their prospects. He played a little over a season in Portland and half of 2014 in Pawtucket before getting the call up to the Majors.

Vazquez was adequate at the plate last season. He certainly doesn’t have power, hitting only one homerun in 175 at-bats, but he had 42 hits and finished the year with a .240 batting average and .308 OBP. Christian added 20 RBI and 19 walks with 33 strikeouts. These numbers will get you by as a catcher in the modern era, but when you add in Vazquez’ play behind the plate, his true value to the organization can be realized.


Red Sox starter Joe Kelly has compared him to his former teammate Yadier Molina, even calling him “Mini Yadi” – not small praise for someone who grew up idolizing his fellow Puerto Rican Molina brothers ( Former catching great Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez also compared Vazquez to Yadier. David Ortiz told Nick Cafardo last year that other teams were beginning to notice him after his defense took them by surprise:

“He completely shuts down the running game. When I was playing first base in those games against Pittsburgh, the runners at first would say, ‘Who is this kid, he’s unbelievable.’ I think Vazquez is going to hit, too. Give him some time, and he’s going to figure it out.”(

Vazquez is quick and agile behind the plate, and his throws to first and second are fast and accurate. According to the Red Sox prospects website, he had issues early on with getting in front of low pitches and balls in the dirt, but has improved dramatically in that area (

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Vazquez will be the starting catcher at the beginning of the season in 2015, and the team as a whole is behind him. Yes, fellow catcher Blake Swihart is considered the top prospect in the Red Sox organization and will most likely see some time in Boston very soon, but right now, Vazquez is the priority. Plus with other clubs consistently knocking at the door in regards to Swihart’s availability, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him dealt in the upcoming year for a solid starting pitcher.

The sky is the limit for Christian Vazquez. He’s young, athletic, full of potential, confident yet humble and has the approval of veteran teammates. The young man also has a good head on his shoulders, something that can’t be overlooked in the hectic and demanding town of Boston. Despite having a guaranteed starting spot in 2015, he went home to Puerto Rico to play winter ball. He also called Jason Varitek to discuss any tips the former World Champion could give him in regards to catching and having a more positive role in the clubhouse:

“Of course, that’s important,” Vazquez said of assuming a leadership role in 2015. “Get the trust of your pitchers. That’s the main thing, like Varitek was the captain of the team. It’s important to be a leader on the field.”

These are the kind of intangibles that have Sox fans drooling. He’s under Boston’s control for a few more years, is an intelligent player and by all accounts, loves to play the game. If Vazquez can learn to hit a fastball consistently, he could have long, lucrative career behind the plate for the Red Sox.