Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 Bill James Projections: Christian Vazquez

2014: 55 games, .240 BA, .308 OBP, .309 SLG, 1 HR, 20 RBI
2015 projection: 110 games, .256 BA, .326 OBP, .343 SLG, 3 HR, 35 RBI

Though Red Sox catchers talk this season has been focused on the possibility that prospect Blake Swihart might get packaged to Philadelphia for Cole Hamels, the Sox have quite a catcher already in Christian Vazquez.

Though Swihart is widely regarded as the best catching prospect in baseball, Vazquez has some serious supporters of his own. Joe Kelly calls Vazquez "Mini-Yadi," a nod to Yadier Molina of the famously talented Molina catching brothers.

The comparison makes some sense, even if it's quite a lot to live up to, as Vazquez spends part of each offseason working out with the Molinas in their native Puerto Rico. For his part, Yadier Molina has confidence in Vazquez's abilities, both behind the plate and with the bat, proclaiming, "He's going to hit."

In 55 games with the Red Sox last season, Vazquez hit a light .240, but his teammates are rooting for him, and he did show improvement near the end of the year. Bill James and his team project only minor improvement for Vazquez this year, but catcher isn't typically a position that's expected to should a huge offensive responsibility.

If Vazquez can hold steady or even improve behind the dish with Kelly singing his praises to the pitching staff, the bridge to Swihart appears to be very solid.

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