Kevin Plawecki makes his way to the Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are entering the 2020 season with a new backup for Christian Vazquez after signing 5-year MLB veteran Kevin Plawecki to a 1-year/$900,000 contract back in January. Plawecki backed up Roberto Perez in Cleveland last season and completed the year hitting .222 with 3 HR and 17 RBI in 59 games.
It’s worth noting that Plawecki finished both the 2017 and 2018 seasons with a higher batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS than Perez. Perez went on to hit 24 home runs in his first season as a starter.
A lot of his value comes from behind the plate. Baseball Prospectus metrics revealed that Plawecki ranked 10th in Blocking Runs and 14th in Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA) amongst all catchers last season.
Plawecki spent the first four seasons of his career with the New York Mets and was considered to be the starter in two out of the four. He caught the most games for the Mets during the 2015 and 2018 regular seasons but never was considered the “starter” because he was consistently splitting starts with Travis d’Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco.
He backed up d’Arnaud for two more seasons after 2015 and put together a successful season in 2017 posting a .260 BA, .364 OBP, and an OPS+ of 106 in 37 games.
Plawecki has been around for a bit and has proven himself as a backup catcher in the game today. His style of play is different than that of Sandy Leon. The Red Sox were in search of somebody with a more complete game and a higher ceiling.
My Q&A with Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki
I caught up with Kevin through Instagram where he talked with me about the upcoming season, the effects of coronavirus, and more.
EM: I’ll start with how have you been passing the time without baseball?
Plawecki: I have been enjoying a lot of time with my wife and my son. As crazy as times are, none of us are used to having this much time as a family together so that part has been nice. On top of that, I have continued to try and stay ready for the season by continuing to work out, hit and throw.
EM: Being from the Chicago area and going to school in Indiana, you grew up close to one of the most historic baseball parks in the game. Now you’ll actually be playing in another one of those ballparks. What does playing at Fenway mean to you and what are you looking forward to most?
Plawecki: Yeah, I grew up a big Cubs fan and always love going to Wrigley. Fenway is another one of those legendary parks that is just timeless. It gives you a certain kind of feel when you take the field there. The lighting is different, the stadium has so much character, the fans bring a lot of energy. I’m just looking forward to getting baseball back and can’t wait to call Fenway my home ballpark.
EM: The Red Sox will be your third team in as many years. You signed back in January, but I’m curious, how’s the adjustment been this time around in the midst of a pandemic and the reality of a shortened season?
Plawecki: It has been a little different just because I got to be around my teammates and got to know them for about two months and then we all headed back home. We have still stayed in contact with each other during these weird times, but I miss the day to day interactions with the guys. This will definitely be a weird season but hopefully a fun one. It will be a race to the finish line!
EM: As a baseball fan it’s been frustrating and exhausting to watch the back and forth between owners and players with no deal finalized. However, Jon Heyman reported recently that a deal was expected to happen. What would you say to the Red Sox fans that are so run down from all of this, that they might not care to pay much attention to the 2020 Boston Red Sox?
Plawecki: I think it has been exhausting for all of us but at the same time baseball is baseball and this whole pandemic has affected every person individually different. When we get back out there to play, we’re going to have guys that are ready to go and ready to try and win another championship. I hope we can get back out on the field and compete sooner than later!
EM: To wrap up, what do you want Red Sox nation to know about you that they might not know already?
Plawecki: I love spending time with my family. That’s what’s most important to me. When I’m not playing baseball or hanging with my family you can usually find me at the golf course.
EM: Appreciate you taking the time Kevin and best of luck this season!
It’ll be interesting to see how many starts Plawecki gets in a shortened 2020 season and how the Red Sox plan on using him. Leon appeared in 78 games or more for three consecutive seasons up until last year, while Vazquez saw an increased workload last season. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon but Plawecki should see his fair share of appearances and at-bats.