Despite projected starting catcher Christian Vazquez beginning the season on the 60-day disabled list, the Red Sox are in no hurry to rush Blake Swihart’s progression to the majors.
Swihart, who will turn 23-years-old in April, is considered the top catching prospect in baseball, and is currently listed as the Red Sox number one prospect according to SoxProspects.com. In 13 Grapefruit League games, Swihart is hitting .333/.375/.533 with a double, triple, home run and eight runs batted in.
“The view is that with a young player like Blake or other guys, we prefer to get them on a little bit of a roll at the minor league level before they come to us,” Farrell shared with NESN.com on Monday morning. “There’s also the need to continue to refine the receiving side of things. He’s gotten quite a bit of opportunity here in camp. He’s shown well I think. But just in the big picture, I think we can probably all benefit by playing every day and continuing to work on the developmental areas that are there.”
The Red Sox will presumably look to Ryan Hanigan, whom they acquired from the San Diego Padres in December in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
So far this spring, Hanigan is hitting .263/.353./.341 in nine games. For his career, the 30-year old veteran has hit .256/.353/.341 with 25 home runs and 172 runs batted in over eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox didn’t waste much time adding another catcher to bolster their depth at the position, acquiring catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals on Monday in exchange for cash considerations.
“This is a guy who, given Christian’s situation, we felt like we needed to build some depth at the position—a guy that’s available because of being out of options and someone we’ve always graded fairly high on the receiving end of the position,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told ESPN Boston.