It has been an eventful season so far for Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon. But how much longer will he continue to put up these offensive numbers?
Going into the 2016, you had catchers Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, and Ryan Hanigan fighting for the two spots on the Major League roster. Everyone had their eyes on those three players and seeing who should be traveling with the team to Cleveland for Opening Day.
But after a series of injuries for Swihart and Hanigan, Sandy Leon was called up to the majors with something to prove. In 2015, Leon only played 41 games and had a horrid slash of .184/.238/.202. To be honest, I was shocked that the Sox still kept Leon in the organization for another year since he was 4th on the depth chart going into Spring training.
Leon simply took perhaps his last opportunity in being a major league catcher and never looked back. So far in 2016, Leon has played 36 games and has an unbelievable slash of .364/.403/.582. He quickly took Vazquez’s starting job when he got promoted and now is one of the hottest bats in the Red Sox lineup.
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To be honest, when I get the daily alert of the Sox lineup for that night’s game, I cringe when I see Leon’s name in the lineup simply because I forget how well he’s hitting. That’s how quickly he turned his career around.
No one, and I mean no one, was expecting Leon to be the everyday catcher during the dog days of August. If you were saying that during Spring Training, people would have looked at you like you had 10 heads. If anyone saw Leon during Spring Training, they probably thought nothing of him and hoped he was going to have a successful season for the Pawtucket Paw Sox.
Michael Silverman, writer for the Boston Herald, sat down with manger John Farrell and asked him about Leon’s resurgence of his career and his offensive contribution for the Red Sox so far this season.
"“He’s extremely confident right now,” said manager John Farrell. “And when you look at a guy from both sides of the plate who has been as powerful and consistent as he’s been, that speaks volumes to the compact swing that he has. A guy was in spring training on our depth chart, but to see how he’s emerged given the injuries behind the plate and maybe the inconsistency of Vazquez throughout the middle part of the season, Sandy has stepped in and really taken over."
It is definitely an amazing story for Leon and how he was able to change his career so quickly. From once a no name catcher that would be lucky to get called up once or twice a season to the starting catcher for the Boston Red Sox during a race for the division crown.
Red Sox nation should be very fortunate to have Leon right now because if it wasn’t for him and his offensive production, who knows where the Sox would be in the A.L. East and Wild Card standings.