Red Sox: It’s time to stop overlooking Christian Vázquez

Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez is better than you realize.

When you think of elite catchers in the game today what names come to mind? J.T. Realmuto? Yasmani Grandal? That tub o’ lard Gary Sanchez? It’s time you add Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez to that list and give him the respect he deserves.

Vázquez is on an absolute tear to start the season. He’s currently slashing a mean .400/.438/.867 through his first four games. In a Red Sox lineup that’s struggling to find its rhythm after the opening day fireworks display, Vázquez is one of the few bright spots. He’s tied for the team lead in RBI and second in total bases and OPS.

He powered the Sox to their second win of the season last night against Jacob deGrom and the Mets with a homer and three RBIs.

I’m not just referencing a six-game sample to declare Vasquez elite. If I operated that way I’d be telling you Andrew Benintendi should be traded already. A guy can slump for a week, lay off. But I digress…

Since the start of 2019, Vázquez ranks 2nd among qualified catchers in batting average and slugging percentage, behind only Realmuto.

When it comes to the more advanced stats like WAR and Runs Created, Grandal sneaks ahead of Vázquez to push him down to third. Still, top-three in the league is no small feat.

His bat isn’t the only strong part of his game, Vázquez’ glove is top notch, as well. He led all catchers last year in fielding percentage and was a runner-up for a Gold Glove. His arm isn’t too shabby either. Vázquez is currently leading the league in runners caught stealing percentage, gunning down two would-be-base-stealers in two opportunities. He finished in the top five last year in that department.

For those of you who stopped paying close attention to the Red Sox in their disappointing 2019 campaign (I don’t blame you), you missed Vasquez finding his stroke. The talk mainly surrounded Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers stepping up, but Vasquez was the unsung hero. He hit 23 home runs last year, up from a career high of… wait for it… 5. Juiced balls or not, he turned his power up a notch in 2019. He also set career highs in runs, hits, doubles, slugging percentage, and extra base hits.

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Despite the 10 month gap between games, Vázquez has not slowed down at all. He’s been rolling in 2020 and shows no signs of slowing. If you’re not on the Christian Vázquez hype train yet, now is the time to get aboard.