Red Sox Christian Vazquez Is The Rock
Every team needs a foundation, a cornerstone for the stars to stand on to reach greatness. For the Boston Red Sox, Christian Vazquez looks to be that rock.
When was the last time anyone has talked about the Red Sox catching situation? In the last few weeks, all that people have been talking about has been Jackie Bradley Jr., David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, and a host of other stars who continue to perform amazingly well for the team. Where’s the starting catcher falling into the equation?
Sometimes, no news is good news.
As far as his bat goes, Vazquez is only hitting over .230 with an RBI total in the single digits. The triple that he drilled last night to cash a run against the Colorado Rockies in Fenway Park, however, is just an added bonus to what Vazquez truly means to the Red Sox.
Before last night’s game, Vazquez caught four out of 11 potential basestealers and recorded three passed balls in 23 games. Backup catcher Ryan Hanigan has allowed 12 stolen bases out of 17 attempts while recording nine passed balls in 17 games. Blake Swihart, the young prospect who was competing for the starting job against Vazquez the last couple of seasons, allowed three stolen bases in four attempts and posted three passed balls in just six games. Hanigan is still the backup and Swihart has been asked to try his hand at being an outfielder, all but securing the starting catcher role for Vazquez for the foreseeable future.
The 25-year-old native of Puerto Rico showed his defensive arts, not just skills, in 2014 when he caught 15 basestealers in 29 attempts. To catch more than half of the men trying to steal on a rookie, Vazquez quickly made a name for himself in the 54 games that he played for the Red Sox. It took Tommy John surgery to sideline the young man in 2015, creating the first real doubt that Vazquez would ever regain his form and take his place as the Red Sox starting catcher.
Those doubters may be the ones who have a long time to wait. Vazquez is done waiting. He had to wait all of 2015 to bring his talents back to Boston. For the last few seasons, the starting pitching has been suspect; having passed balls only makes their situation worse. Vazquez, on the other hand, seems to be the foundation that the starters have needed. They don’t need to worry about throwing their pitches to the plate, because they know that Vazquez will handle the rest.
Men on base? No problem, since Vazquez has shown opposing teams that his arm is healed from the surgery. Is there a problem with his bat? It’s not hitting the lights out like a Big Papi, that’s for sure; however, with the potent lineup that the Red Sox are sporting, they can afford a catcher hitting in the nine-spot for less than a .250 batting average. Just as long as Vazquez can be that rock behind the plate, it doesn’t matter what names would hit better from that position. The Red Sox arms need stability, the infield needs a catcher who can strike fear in the hearts of opposing baserunners, and the offense just needs a bat that isn’t a guaranteed out. Vazquez gives them everything that the Red Sox need, without any unnecessary headaches.
Hey, he may not be very sexy with the bat, but Vazquez is part of the foundation that can keep the good times rolling for the Red Sox. His calming influence may be just as powerful as the big sticks that the rest of the Boston lineup is carrying, in recent games.