Red Sox Opening Day 2017: 25-man roster breakdown
Boston has a pair of very good defensive catchers, but can either of them hit?
Leon’s out-of-nowhere breakout season caught all of us by surprise last season. It remains to be seen if he can recapture the magic again, especially after he fell into a slump to end last season. He started out slowly in camp, then rebounded to finish with a solid .286 average and .792 OPS. If he can deliver similar results while providing good defense behind the plate, the Red Sox will gladly take it.
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While Vazquez has limited upside with the bat, he’s so good defensively it may not matter. As long as he hits enough to avoid being a liability at the bottom of the order, his skills behind the plate warrant giving him playing time.
The catcher with the highest upside in the organization is Blake Swihart, who has been optioned to Pawtucket to begin the season. We know Swihart can hit at this level. His defense is another question entirely. He needs more seasoning in Triple-A to polish up his defensive skills, which were poor enough last year to convince the Red Sox to try him in the outfield. Swihart is also the only catcher of the trio with minor league options, making him the obvious choice to be left out.
If Leon shows that last year’s success was a mirage or Vazquez can’t contribute to the offense then Swihart will get another shot.