There’s no way in hell Sandy Leon will be the hottest hitter in baseball this season. No chance. He just can’t hit a curveball, and that’s a huge cause for concern.
It doesn’t mean he can’t play good defense and that he’s useless to the Boston Red Sox. In fact, he’s actually going to be their starting catcher this season–in case you were wondering.
This is probably the first time in quite sometime we did not know who the Red Sox starting catcher would be, or at least think we knew who the starting catcher would be, this late into Spring Training. 2015 is obviously an exception because Christian Vazquez got hurt. But this year, Vazquez is starting the year on the bench.
Crazy what time could do, considering Leon was the team’s No. 4 catcher on the depth chart last season. Yeah, he was their AAA backup to start 2016. That’s what Dan Butler is right now.
Leon hit over .300 in the bigs last year despite being a career .23-something hitter in his minor league career. He can hit a fastball, he made that clear last year. But he looked like a fool on some of those big league curveballs. Remember though, he’s on the team because he doesn’t have any options remaining and he plays elite defense. The same could be said for Christian Vazquez. Meanwhile, Blake Swihart is the exact opposite: more of a hitter and he has MiLB options. He’s not like Canseco though.
The Red Sox have a strong lineup this year, so they can afford a dip in production offensively if it means they get sound catching. That’s what Leon will provide them.
This doesn’t mean the catching battle is over. He’s not guaranteed the job throughout the year. Vazquez will fight for reps and then Swihart will be looking to kick one of them out of town.