Predicting Red Sox Spring Training Positional Battles

Catcher

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

Starter: Christian Vasquez

The 24 year-old Puerto Rican backstop is the most logical candidate to step in as the John Farrell‘s everyday catcher in 2015. He has been lauded for his defensive ability and deserves an opportunity to prove whether or not he can be an offensive contributor. In 55 games with Boston last year he slashed .240/.308/.309, a step down across the board from his .279/.336/.385 line in Triple A Pawtucket.

But Vasquez has lightning quick reaction times behind the plate to gun down would be base stealers, and drew raves from members of the 2014 staff for his work in framing borderline pitches. But it remains to be seen if the Red Sox will value his defensive skills enough to make him the catcher of the future. 2015 represents his audition for that role.

Backup: Ryan Hanigan

Hanigan is not quite the tag team partner fans envisioned for Vasquez. Most pundits forecasted that the team would look for a left handed hitter with a good bat to play catcher, skills that would complement the tools Vasquez brings to the table. Instead, Ben Cherington turned to the veteran Hanigan to fill the shoes of recently departed grizzled backstop David Ross.

Acquired from the Padres for former top prospect Will Middlebrooks, Hanigan does make a lot of sense now that we know the strategy Cherington used in assembling his rotation. Hanigan is another catcher noted for his abilities to throw out runners, and frame pitches.

Just Missed: Blake Swihart

Designated Hitter

Starter: David Ortiz

If there was one player on the Red Sox who conceivably has better job security in 2015 than Dustin Pedroia, it’s Big Papi. I would say Pedroia is the team’s heart and soul, but Ortiz is the longest tenured player on the team and continues to provide the team with clutch power hitting even as he approaches his 40’s.

The 39-year-old mashed 35 homers last year, his highest total since 2007. On the other hand his batting average saw a precipitous drop off, .263 being his lowest number since his dreadful 2009 season. The end is in sight for Ortiz, and the team can’t continue to expect him to be their best hitter. I see know reason why next season can’t be another good one, but it likely won’t be great by his own lofty standards.

6 Responses

  1. sparkyII

    I must say this was the best YB article I have enjoyed to date. Too bad the Sox can’t keep all of those players mentioned in this run down but hey, it looks to be a great trade line up. I along with many Sox fans will be disappointed to see some of our favourites not on the roster come April but that’s baseball. It don’t get any better than this.

    Reply
    • Ryan Hathaway

      Wow that is tremendous praise, thank you very much I’m happy you enjoyed my piece. It was an exciting winter and I can’t wait for this season to get started but it’s also quite exciting to remember how much flexibility this team has in both this season and beyond. There are so many trade possibilities and so many prospects that can be plugged into this team if it doesn’t work. It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out and you’re right, it really doesn’t get any better than this!

      Reply
      • sparkyII

        I wasn’t expecting a response from you but I’m glad you did. It’s nice to know some writers do indeed follow up by reading comments from the readers. I will be following you throughout the season so keep up the good work.
        One other thing, I predict the Sox, Cole Hammels, and the Phillies will come to terms by the end of March if not sooner. What’s your thoughts?

      • Ryan Hathaway

        Again appreciated, seeing a comment at the bottom of my posts is one of my favorite aspects of this job.

        For me, too, Hamels or another pitching addition seems quite likely. Though I’m not sure it will happen by March. I think that Amaro and Cherington are in a stand off and I think that either Amaro will budge or Cherington will move onto someone else like Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann, or Doug Fister sometime before the deadline.

        In terms of a spring training trade, I actually think it is more likely the team takes a look at Cliff Lee if he proves healthy.

      • sparkyII

        You’re probably right on the trade dead line, I’m just getting anxious, but I keep thinking the Phills are a lot more desperate than they let on. Getting rid of Hamel’s contract and adding a top prospect is better than playing in limbo for another year. I wonder how the Philly fans will react to the stalemate their team is in and how long their GM will keep his job under such pressure.

      • sparkyII

        One other thought: the Sox have been interested in Cole Hamels for a long time and he would be much more affordable than Zimmerman and the others you named. One top prospect and two prospects of lesser value would or should be enough to make this deal happen. It would be to the
        Sox advantage to have Hamels in ST along with the rest of the team

Leave a Reply