Red Sox: Comparing this year’s Opening Day roster to 2018’s
By Jacob Anes
A comparison of the 2018 World Champion Boston Red Sox Opening Day roster to the roster they will start the 2019 season with.
In 2018, the Boston Red Sox rolled to a 108-54 record and won the World Series. After a season like that, keeping the roster intact is typically difficult but ideal.
With that being said, let’s compare the 2019 Opening Day roster to the roster the Red Sox began 2018 with.
2018: Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart
2019: Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart
In 2018, the Red Sox kept three catchers in the majors all year. Christian Vazquez got hurt early in the year and missed a big chunk of time, which left Sandy Leon to do the majority of the catching during that time. However, when Vazquez got back, he did the majority of catching.
At the end of the season, Leon played 89 games, Vazquez played 80, and Swihart played 82. Obviously, that number is far higher than 162, which is because of Swihart playing other positions while Leon and Vazquez were often late entrants to games.
While Leon and Vazquez were both excellent defensively, the offense was really a struggle. Vazquez had just a .540 OPS, while Leon was at .511. Swihart never really got consistent playing time and finished at .613. This put Boston last in catcher OPS by a wide margin at .533, with the next closest being Baltimore at .587.
In 2019, the Red Sox will carry just two. While Vazquez currently projects to be the starter, Swihart should see more consistent playing time this year. He may be inferior defensively, but he certainly has more upside with the bat, and that will be his ticket to the starting job. If he hits, he will progressively get more playing time. Vazquez will be starting and batting 8th on Opening Day, but we will have a better idea of how the playing time will be split once the season has had a few weeks.