Red Sox trades adding to quality prospect catching depth
The future Boston Red Sox have a potential gap at catching that could mirror the second base issue. Second base has haunted the roster since Dustin Pedroia’s career took a sharp turn for the worst. The Red Sox attacked the issue with a variety of options from Jose Peraza to an in-house options such as Michael Chavis. The issue remains unresolved. Catching may face a similar future.
Christian Vazquez is one of the best backstops in baseball. Vazquez is an excellent defensive player and a rather industrious hitter. Vazquez is under contract for two more seasons at a comfortable value but he’s now in baseball middle age.
The Red Sox have been looking for value at that position since Chaim Bloom took the reins. They are planning for life without Vazquez. And most certainly wish to avoid an expensive visit to free agency. A J.T. Realmuto is not cheap.
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The first notable catching acquisition was Connor Wong. Wong is ranked as the 19th prospect in the Red Sox system and no other catcher was internally ranked higher. Wong is unusual for a catcher since he can play multiple positions – an updated version of Blake Swihart.
Notice the was? That was is Ronaldo Hernandez. He has assumed the 15th position in the Red Sox system. Once a top 100 MLB prospect whose two main attributes are power and a strong arm. A delectable duo when describing a catcher. At 23-years-old – a year younger than Wong – the Red Sox have time and patience.
Last March, the Red Sox dipped into the Chicago Cubs system. Travis Lakins brought catcher Jhonny Pereda to the Red Sox. Pereda is matured defensively, but inconsistent. His bat is lagging behind in the development scenario and Pereda may represent a long shot.
Enderso Lira is an international free agent signing. Just 18-years-old Lira will toil in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) and as this year progresses more may be known. The other unknown is in the undrafted market. Juan Montero is 18-years-old and like Lira is an unknown. They are the most notable. But not alone.
The Red Sox system has catchers and with any farm system, there will be a weening process. Venezuelan Rivaldo Avila was given a $405,000 bonus. Just 18-years-old, he will start his trek in the DSL. Avila will not be lonesome as the DSL is a proving ground for the teenagers. Naysbel Marcano, Jose Navas, Andy Pena, Claudio Richetti, and Ronald Rosario all via international signings will be sequestered in the DSL.
In the system are DSL graduated Yorberto Mejicano and Oscar Rangel who will move up to Greenville and possibly Salem. Experienced college players such as Jose Garcia, Lane Milligan, Jaxx Groshans, Kole Cottam, and Charlie Madden are in the system. Madden and Milligan are both pushing 26-years-old and may be displaced by younger and more promising prospects.
These are but a few names gleaned from SoxProspects.com on the Red Sox catching depth. The COVID situation certainly stalled development and evaluation, but that (hopefully) will change. Also, the elimination of short-season teams will also impact. That said it appears Bloom and his evaluators are looking for that nugget or two that have slipped through or organizational depth elsewhere has made available. There is roster safety in numbers.
As noted there is catching depth but the exposure is catching quality. The evaluators apparently have limited faith in the numerous names I have listed after Wong and Hernandez. A condemnation of the catching within the system is that none are on the top 30 prospects until Wong and Hernandez arrived.