Red Sox Predictions: Christian Vazquez Will Be Starting Catcher In 2016
Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez underwent Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2015
It is clear that the Boston Red Sox want Christian Vazquez to be their starting catcher. However, after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in March 2015 and undergoing Tommy John surgery shortly there after, the Sox realized they would have to wait a little while until Vazquez could take on this role full time. Now at the tail end of his road to recovery, Vazquez is showing more promise than anyone could have imagined.
When Vazquez is fully healthy, it is understood that he will become the BoSox starting catcher. The only question is when will he be healthy enough to catch in the big leagues again? It has been discussed that Vazquez will likely start the season in Triple-A until he is prepared to handle a full workload of an MLB catcher. But, because of the success he has had during spring camp this year, I predict that Vazquez will come out of spring training as Boston’s Opening Day starting catcher.
As of right now, the Red Sox are taking a slow approach with Vazquez. They do not want him to re-injure his elbow, so they are being very cautious. However, they are not ruling out the possibility that Vazquez could be ready for the big leagues by the time April roles around.
Vazquez made his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday and it went very well. He caught two innings and, as John Farrell told the press, Vazquez “looked very comfortable” back behind the plate. His next test: live batting practice against Koji Uehara. Then, on Friday, Vazquez will be catching again, this time maybe up to four innings in the exhibition game against the Miami Marlins.
Vazquez is known for his defensive skills, so the fact that he is already catching and throwing like his normal self just 361 days after his Tommy John surgery is quite impressive. The Red Sox are still taking it slow with Vazquez to make sure he fully recovers from his injury, but the pace they have currently set gives him enough time to prove that he will be ready for Opening Day. Additionally, even though there is no pressure to add Vazquez to the roster immediately since the Sox have still have two catchers – Blake Swihart and Ryan Hanigan – ready and able to catch right now, Boston is going to want Vazquez’ defensive prowess behind the plate from the first game in April to the last one in October.
There are still 24 days until the Boston Red Sox take the field in their first regular season game. I think that is plenty of time for Vazquez to show the coaches that he is ready to take on the starting catcher role for the 2016 season. Do not be surprised if Vazquez makes the Opening Day roster this April.
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