Red Sox Rankings: Top 10 catcher performances from this decade
By Tim Starr
Blake Swihart had a very interesting tenure in Boston, to put it lightly. He was picked as the prize of the 2011 draft and was a top-prospect coming up through the Red Sox farm system. He caught his only full season with the Red Sox in 2015 before he was later forced to play other positions and he hurt himself while playing the outfield.
He slashed .274/5/31 with a .712 OPS. That production isn’t terrible, especially as a catcher, but Swihart was meant to be a top catcher, not below average.
When you’re drafted number one in a loaded 2011 draft, a 90 OPS+ is not the expectation. Swihart didn’t get to play a whole season in 2015 – only 84 games, but his numbers still are not great.
On the defensive side of the ball, Swihart was even worse with -28 Defensive Runs Saved Above Average/year. That is absolutely atrocious and could be a part of Swihart’s major league decline. Due to his incompetence behind the plate, the Red Sox moved him around to other positions. If he was a better catcher, perhaps his career wouldn’t have been turned into flames.
Overall, this was definitely not a year to remember as the numbers were just not good. Swihart had a lot expected of him and unfortunately, he just couldn’t meet the expectation.
He is an example of how prospects can quickly turn from highly coveted into busts and that your farm system’s number of top prospects does not always indicate the success of your future.
Back to the Red Sox, the 2014-2015 last-place era was due partially to a result of bad catching.