BOSTON — The Red Sox have a “problem” many teams wish they had: not one, but two highly regarded young catchers. Christian Vazquez beat the projected timetable for his arrival to the big leagues and proved a defensive sensation; switch-hitting Blake Swihart, meanwhile, continued his swift rise through the system, starring in both Portland and Pawtucket, and has a huge potential upside.
How they factor into the Sox future will be one of the major questions facing Boston GM Ben Cherington this winter.

Here is Part 3 of our position-by-position breakdown:

Performance this season (major league rankings):

  • Batting average: .230, 25th
  • On-base percentage: .285, 24th
  • Slugging percentage: .341, 26th
  • Home runs: 11, 23rd
  • Offensive WAR: 0.9, 25th
  • Wins Above Replacement: 0.6, 24th
  • Errors: 16, 27th
  • Caught stealing: 28 percent, 14th
  • Total Zone Runs Above Average: -2, 17th

Catchers used, offensive stats:A.J. Pierzynski, 62 G, .252/.285/.343/.628, 3 HR, 28 RBIs; Christian Vazquez, 51 G, .243/.311/.312/.623, 1 HR, 20 RBIs; David Ross, 49 G, .184/.260/.368/.629, 7 HR, 15 RBIs; Daniel Butler, 6 G, .211/.250/.368/.618, 0 HR, 2 RBIs.

Catchers used, defensive stats: A.J. Pierzynski, 9 out of 47 caught stealing, 19 percent, 3 errors, -4 Total Zone Runs Above Average; Christian Vazquez, 15 out of 29 CS, 52 percent, 4 TZRAA, 5 errors; David Ross, 9 out of 41 CS, 22 percent, -2 TZRAA, 7 errors; Daniel Butler 0 out of 3 CS, 0 percent, -1 TZRAA, 1 error.

Best performance: Rookie Christian Vazquez evoked comparisons to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina with his defensive excellence and ability to shut down a running game.

Biggest disappointment: A.J. Pierzynski didn’t come close to giving the Sox the offensive production they expected, which made his subpar defense less tolerable; Pierzynski was released.

Biggest surprise: Vazquez is hardly a surprise; his defense was the talk of camp this past spring, but his transition to …read more