After hitting his first Major League career home run last Thursday night in a loss to the Minnesota Twins, the future is looking bright for Blake Swihart. Swihart was selected by the Sox in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, and now he is beginning to show what he could bring to the franchise. He is a 23-year-old switch-hitting catcher who is more known for his good defense behind the plate, but if he can add some solid offense to his game, there should be nothing stopping him from becoming the future every day catcher for the Sox.
The Red Sox have been looking for someone to fill the catcher spot since the retirement of Boston great Jason Varitek. Since Varitek retired in 2011, the Sox have experimented with a couple of catchers. They even won a World Series in 2013 with two catchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross. But something tells me that John Farrell and the Red Sox front office would love to find a young catcher that they can lock up for years to come.
Swihart was called up from the Minors on May 2. During his short time in the Majors, he is hitting .218 with three doubles, eight RBI, and the one home run. Not all-star numbers or even Rookie Of The Year numbers, but they are solid stats for a catcher who is here more for his defense. Also, with his one home run, Swihart is the youngest Red Sox catcher since Rich Gedman in 1982 to hit a home run, proving that he has a long career ahead of him.
His defensive numbers are very impressive though. While on the Red Sox, Swihart is error-less and has caught five runners trying to steal. In the minors, he has a .989 fielding percentage, and only recorded 26 errors in 279 games. These are numbers that show the true potential that he brings to the table.
In a league that does not have many superstar catchers, every team is always looking for one who can be reliable defensively behind the plate, and also not be a liability as a hitter. The Red Sox and their fans know that Swihart is already reliable behind the plate, and after finally seeing the type of hitter he could become, the Sox are hoping they don’t have to look any further to find their franchise catcher.