Red Sox: An overview of catching options for 2022 and beyond
Red Sox catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Hernandez won’t be in a position to replace Vazquez or enter a platoon at the big league level in 2022, but he deserves some mention. Acquired in the deal that sent Chris Mazza and Jeffrey Springs to the Tampa Bay Rays, the 23-year-old Hernandez has spent his first year in the Red Sox system at Double-A Portland, playing in 73 games, and hitting .253/.297/.456.
SoxProspects cites some power potential, and he does have 12 home runs and 17 doubles on the year.
"Plus raw power. Can really impact the baseball, especially up in the zone. Power is mainly to the pull side; every home run in his career prior to being acquired by the Red Sox was to left or left-center. Ability to tap into raw power will depend on how his hit tool develops. Potential average in-game power."
SoxProspects also note that he isn’t athletic like Wong and could have some issues staying behind the plate as his career moves forward.
"Does not move well behind the plate. Framing and receiving need a lot of work. Potential fringe-average glove."
Hernandez doesn’t walk often and he strikes out a fair bit as well — he’s walked only 9 times this year while racking up 73 strikeouts. He’s someone worth keeping an eye on in the farm system, but don’t expect him for at least a couple of seasons. If the concerns about him behind the plate aren’t alleviated, he could find life as a corner infield/DH option at some point.
Final thoughts on Red Sox catchers
The Red Sox definitely have some decisions to make regarding the catching situation for the future. Personally, I believe Boston will pick up Vázquez’s team option, with Plawecki still slotting into the backup role.
I also find it likely that Wong makes the roster next year in some way, shape or form, and he could help alleviate the Vázquez workload while Plawecki takes some reps at DH. I also wouldn’t discount the possibility of Vázquez being moved at some point if he continues to decline.
Vázquez has only caught 100-plus games twice in his career and I can’t imagine that being a common sight as he gets deeper into his 30’s. If he wants to keep his spot on this team, things need to turn around fast.