Bright Future Behind Plate in Vazquez
|AP Photo/Pat Sullivan|
When the Red Sox front office decided to DFA AJ Pierzynski, they called up Christian Vazquez, a youngster who has proven himself behind the plate in the farm system. With David Ross under contract for only the remainder of this season, now is the perfect time for Vazquez to be with the team and learning from a veteran like Ross. Since his call up Vazquez has only played in 5 games, yet they have all been wins, the most impressive of these wins being a complete game, 3 hit and 12 strikeout performance he caught from Clay Buchholz against the Houston Astros. Vazquez got the call up because of the numbers that he had put up in AAA Pawtucket earlier this season, including a .279 average, 3 home runs and 20 RBI's at the plate. Behind the plate he has thrown out 40% of attempted base stealers, has a .996 fielding percentage and has only 5 passed balls.
Since joining the Red Sox on July 9th Vazquez has 6 hits in 18 at bats for a .333 average, and already has 7 RBI's. Behind the plate his catchers ERA is 1.80 in the 5 games he has played. While this is an extremely small sample size Vazquez has proven himself in his early debuts as a major leaguer. It appears that Vazquez is taking an interest in the pitchers that he is catching, something that Pierzynski never did while with the Red Sox, and is also learning quickly from David Ross.
The biggest upside to Vazquez is that he is only 23 years old. The Red Sox have been rotating catchers behind the plate ever since Tek left and have not had a consistent everyday starter. Vazquez could be that consistent everyday starter for the Red Sox for years to come. If he focuses on what Ross is teaching him for the rest of the season and gets another veteran catcher to teach him next year we could be looking at a catcher that is behind the plate for many years to come.
Are the numbers deceiving? With just 5 games played is it too small of a sample size? Leave your answers in the comments section below or let me know what you think on twitter.