Christian Vazquez: Defensive Superstar in the Making

As soon as I saw the Spring Training video of Christian Vazquez shooting down Trevor Plouffe attempting to steal second base, I knew he was special, (the video is titled ‘Vazquez throws out Plouffe’ and can be found on MLB.com). They don’t just hand out the nickname “Little Yadi” to anyone. Vazquez emerged as the potential catcher of the future just a few years ago. Now, he is 26 years old, and we are still waiting to see if he can get the starting job behind the plate.

Ever since Vazquez reached the Major Leagues in 2014, it’s been clear that he struggles Christian Vazquezin the batter’s box. Vazquez has a career .233 batting-average in just 347 at-bats. Vazquez has showed signs though, as he crushed a home run over the Monster against Yankees RP Dellin Betances last year. Betances is one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball, and the fact that Vazquez could hold his own against him and go yard attests to his hitting ability. He simply gets overwhelmed at times against big league pitching.

Christian Vazquez vs. Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon emerged last season as the everyday catcher for Boston. He found success in our lineup, producing a .310 average. Leon only made one error behind the plate last year, and threw out 42% of potential base runners. Most Sox fans will see these numbers and immediately see Sandy Leon as the starter this year too, but not so fast.

Leon was one of the streakiest hitters on the team last year. He was the best hitter on the team at times, while at other times he couldn’t make contact. When he wasn’t hitting well, he was basically a liability. Not to mention, Sandy Leon was absolutely awful in the playoffs. He went 1-10 with 5 K’s against Cleveland in the divisional series. I have not seen enough consistent production from Leon to tag him with the Opening Day start this year; I’m also not John Farrell.

The Case for Vazquez

Christian Vazquez has the most raw talent in the Red Sox catching core. He can take over a game from behind the plate with his framing, and his blocking is advanced beyond his competition. Vazquez is a defensive beast, and it is very apparent when watching him work behind the plate in-game. He is the glue that holds the Red Sox defense together. Blake Swihart has shown an inability to improve upon his receiving thus far, and some say he has caught a case of the yips this spring. Sandy Leon has been a hit or miss in all aspects of his game. Who does this leave? Christian Vazquez, (or Mini Yadi).

Vazquez is dedicated to his craft. He is ready for the challenge that awaits him. We’re talking about a guy who is not only compared to Yadier Molina, but works out with him and his brothers in the offseason. Don’t forget, Molina is only a career .285 hitter. Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon have been inconsistent producers at catcher. Don’t get me wrong, Leon belongs in the lineup against lefties. John Farrell has already come out and said that Hanley Ramirez will DH against righties this year. Does this mean that against lefties we will see Leon DH, and Vazquez behind the plate? Sure, he still needs to improve his hitting. Once he does, there is no question as to who will be catching every day in Boston.

Reflections of 2013, Boston Strong

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Reflecting on the 2013 season, the Boston Red Sox have a lot to be proud of. We, as fans, have a lot to be proud of. It was an enjoyable ride where passion and companionship took precedence over the actual game. With that said, it didn’t mean they put their careers on the back burner. Instead, it was quite the opposite. You see, I am a firm believer of  the power of ‘positivity’. That is, if you have a positive attitude no matter what comes your way, the energy flows and allows you to move gracefully toward your goals. That is exactly what happened with the  Sox this season. Let’s take a look at 2013. After all, it was their chemistry that brought them to postseason. Their chemistry and leadership, attitude on and off the field and their stamina.

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As I look back at all of their accomplishments and even their failures – the Blockbuster Deal, John Lackey’s biceps strain, David Ortiz’ speech (given on any other day would have caused suspension), David Ortiz’ ill-fated Achilles tendon injury, José Iglesias’ demotion simply because Stephen Drew’s return, Koji Uehara’s impeccable performance as a 38-year old reliever, A-Rod’s appearance at Fenway, and so on and so forth – a tear comes to my eye. It was a journey alright. A journey that would lead a team once in shambles to a predicted victory in the World Series. Although a team at heart, who can forget about some of the most memorable moments directed at individual players? Yes, every one of them was an All-Star but who can forget about Jackie Bradley Jr.’s début in April, Mike Napoli’s consistent at-bats, Clay Bucholz’ accusation of firing spitballs when in fact it was rosin, Daniel Nava’s seemingly surreal 181385308[1]performances on the offense and Jacoby Ellsbury’s consistent stolen bases. Who can forget about the many times the team pulled together when they were losing and fought to bring about an admirable win? It was in May, for instance, the Red Sox were playing the Indians. They were down 5-2 yet they fought with all their might, pulled together and ended up winning that night.

These are the days to remember, the moments that will last forever. These moments which have brought spirit and community into our city. Come Friday, October 4, I feel as if it’s going to be a very emotional day for everyone. Somewhat like April 20, when the Sox returned home from being away, after the manhunt, to capture Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsamaev in lieu of the Boston Marathon bombings, April 15.

Now that the playoffs have finally arrived, we need to do our job (as we have always done) to keep the rally going. Continue fighting for our beloved Red Sox and cheer them on until the end. Let’s see them to the World Series. I believe! Do you?

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