Red Sox position players on the fringe of making 2018 Opening Day roster

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 6: Deven Marrero
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 6: Deven Marrero /
4 of 7
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 30: Blake Swihart (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 30: Blake Swihart (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /


2017 with Boston: 6 G, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .200 BA/.429 OBP/.200 SLG (.629 OPS)

2017 in Pawtucket: 53 G, 4 HR, 23 RBI, .190 BA/.246 OBP/.292 SLG (.539 OPS)

For Blake Swihart, 2017 was a season that he would rather forget.

After suffering a season-ending ankle injury in 2016, not many knew what to expect from Swihart. This compounded itself during spring training in 2017. Reports came out of camp that Swihart battling – what some were calling – “the yips.” An accompanying video then surfaced of Swihart overthrowing pitchers during bullpen sessions. This led to Swihart opening the season with Pawtucket, where he would stay until September call-ups.

The former top-prospect was a shell of himself in 2017. Swihart was not able to hit minor league pitching. He saw his OPS drop to a minor league career low. The Red Sox did not see the same power they were accustomed to seeing out of Swihart. So, when he was added to the roster, it came as a surprise. His performance far from merited the call-up. His natural position behind the plate was log-jammed by Sandy Leon and newly minted good hitter Christian Vazquez. The only other position he played in the bigs – left field – was secured by Andrew Benintendi. This led to Swihart only playing in six games, registering only five at-bats.

Spring Training in 2018 is going to be crucial for the 25-year old. If he can prove that his bat is still there, cementing his value behind the plate, he could push Leon out of a job. However, the switch-hitting catcher would have to gain the trust of the pitching staff in the same way Leon has. Which is unlikely. The Red Sox carrying three catchers in 2018 is even less likely.

VERDICT: Starts 2018 in Pawtucket.