Sandy Leon provides value as a backup catcher due to his defensive skills behind the plate. How effective does his glove need to be in order to warrant keeping his anemic bat around?
Leon has been the team’s worst hitter, batting .159 with a .440 OPS in 44 at-bats. Only four American League hitters have produced a lower OPS in at least 40 at-bats.
Boston’s other catching options haven’t fared much better. We’ve covered how inept Swihart has been. Christian Vazquez is batting .179 with a .447 OPS. Red Sox catchers own the league’s lowest collective OPS and second-lowest batting average.
Vazquez’ role seems secure given that the Red Sox handed him a three-year extension prior to this season. If the team believes in Swihart’s long-term outlook, both with his bat and behind the plate, then Leon could be the odd man out.
The Red Sox value defense over offense at the catcher position. Leon has at least been sufficient at the former and his rapport with ace Chris Sale may warrant keeping him around.
Leon has arguably been the least valuable player on the team this year yet may also be the least likely of these five candidates to lose his roster spot. That’s not fair to the other candidates to be cut but sometimes that’s how baseball works, for better or worse.