There is no debate that Blake Swihart is a phenomenal athlete. Clearly, he is athletic enough to stick around behind the plate. And his bat could be a major asset. Even with all of that in mind, should the Red Sox look to Christian Vazquez instead?
Remember now, this was Vazquez’ job at the end of 2014 and headed into the 2015 season. It was supposed to be him and Ryan Hanigan behind the plate with Swihart (among others, including Humberto Quintero (here’s another of Quintero)) in Pawtucket. But arm issues forced Vazquez to need Tommy John Surgery. It was tough on him, but now he is back down in Triple-A on “rehab assignment” after not really getting much of a look in Spring Training.
It has only been a small sample size. But the way Vazquez is seeing the ball it does not seem to be much of a rehab assignment as it is the Red Sox buying time to see what they can do here. Manager John Farrell said he expects Vazquez to be back up with the major league club at the end of his 20-day rehab assignment.
According to The Springfield Republican, the Red Sox rotation has a 7.32 ERA in seven games. And Swihart has caught six of those seven games. How has the team fared in those ones? 2-4.
Yes, it is early. And yes, there is no way that it is a 7.32 ERA for the rest of the season. It cannot all be pinned on Swihart either. But he as athletic as he is, he lacks a lot of the basics mentally behind the plate since he was not a full-time catcher growing up.
Sure, he has a higher ceiling than Vazquez. But Vazquez would not be an issue behind the plate. He is considered great defensively and since he is coming off Tommy John Surgery and has not caught in awhile, it would mean Ryan Hanigan would have an opportunity to catch more. Hanigan is the only catcher who can say the Red Sox had a winning record with him back there as they were 27-24 in his 51 starts last season.
No doubt Hanigan should be catching more than he is right now. No Doubt…