Red Sox 2019 Report Cards: Catcher Christian Vazquez
Evaluating the 2019 season of Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez and assigning a grade based on how his production lived up to expectations.
It’s safe to say that 2019 will be a season that Christian Vazquez will be talking about for a while. Though the Red Sox didn’t have the collective success that they did in 2018 but it was a career year for the catcher. Vazqy showed power at the plate that he had not shown in years past and haven’t been seen by a Boston catcher in quite some time.
Going into this past season Christian had a mere 10 homers to his name, he would finish the campaign with a whopping 23 dingers. He also more than doubled his career highs in hits and RBI as well on top of a .276/.320/.477/.798 slash line. I’m sure he would’ve traded some of the individual achievements he had for another chance at the World Series but it wasn’t meant to be.
It wasn’t all offense Vazqy as he was one of the best defensive catchers in the league. He would finish the season with a 38% CS% which was well above the league average of 27%. Vazquez also flashed his versatility for Alex Cora as he would also get runs at first, second, and third base for the Red Sox.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
When the Red Sox arrived at spring training they were carrying three major league catchers in Vazquez, Sandy Leon, and Blake Swihart. The three-headed dragon would prove a necessity in 2018 as both Leon and Vazquez would feel the bite of the injury bug. However, it wouldn’t prove to be a wise move as Boston would need the added roster spot.
Swihart would be sent to Arizona and Leon DFA’d down to the minors only to be recalled. Christian would be named the starting catcher and that vote of confidence clearly play a factor for the righty. Being named the number one guy at your position is a hell of a motivator and I think it lit a fire under Vazquez. He more than earned his position and backed up the confidence that was placed in him.
Vazquez and Leon make a great tandem as each brings veteran leadership to the pitching staff. The Red Sox lucked out in having two quality catchers on the roster that can go on any given day. Christian is definitely the top dog behind especially after what he did with this last season.
There wasn’t much chatter about Vazquez going into this season as his 2018 wasn’t anything to write home about. Between splitting time with Leon and being on the DL he was a mere supporting actor for the World Series squad. After his ascension up the catcher ranks this year the eyes will be on him going forward, and rightfully so. His big negative for 2019 would have to be the high level of strikeouts (101) that he posted.
The Red Sox have found a guy that can not only carry his own weight offensively and defensively but also has a voice that carries through the pitching staff. Vazquez has absolutely become the leader of the staff and with his continued growth, he can become a leader of this team. There is a lot of uncertainty within the Red Sox organization right now but having Vazqy behind the plate isn’t on that list.
I believe he will continue to split time with Leon going forward just so he can get some rest days on the calendar. His 138 games played in 2019 were the most in a single season for his career. Of course, Leon will put up a fight in spring training but I think the battle has already been lost for Sandy. Vazquez is the far superior catcher both behind the plate and at it and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Christian Vazquez has staked his claim to being Boston’s everyday catcher. If Vazquez can continue to be the force that he was in 2019 then the Red Sox will have another weapon going into 2020. This offseason will be huge for not only the organization but for Vazquez as an individual and I look to see him become a key member of this roster going forward.