Catching is a major commodity — as is depth. For that, the Red Sox have reasons to be excited headed into the 2016 MLB season.
Their depth chart is loaded with catchers who not only have MLB experience, but guys who could help the team win ballgames — not just fill in. Here’s a look at the probable Red Sox depth chart behind the plate:
1.) Blake Swihart — Swihart really looks to be the Red Sox future catcher. Sure, his defense is a work in progress. But man, he is a catcher who can hit which is hard to come by.
2.) Ryan Hanigan — Hanigan worked well with pitchers last season, hit lefties well and showed patience at the plate. He is a veteran and above average defender. He and Swihart look to be the regular catchers on the Opening Day roster.
3.} Pablo Sandoval — At the major league level, Sandoval is the emergency depth catcher. This would honestly be pretty cool to see, but that does not mean it will happen. He’ll be here on the depth chart throughout the season — most likely. But it would require the two big league catchers being hurt in the same game.
4.) Christian Vazquez – Coming off Tommy John Surgery, Vazquez looks to be in the Red Sox catching picture at some point this season. After all, he was slated to take the starting job last year. He is slated to start this year in triple-A Pawtucket. But if he is not a liability at-bat, then that could change quickly.
5.) Sandy Leon – He’d probably be the No. 9 hitter on a lot of National League teams. But Leon has a strong throwing arm and is regarded as a valuable defensive catcher. Certainly, the Red Sox must know that of all people. They are paying him a quarter of a million dollars to be their backup triple-A catcher.
6.) Dan Butler — Yes, the Dan Butler is back in the Sox org. It’s unclear where he fits in now. But anyone who follows the Sox farm system knows that he worked hard to make it to the top level. And some Red Sox fans must remember the name. He is regarded as a good receiver behind the plate with a decent plate discipline.
7.) Ali Solis – Solis had a brief stint with the San Diego Padres and another with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014. He was an atrocious hitter in double-A last year so he must be a strong defender if he is still in affiliated baseball.
Here’s what happened the last time he played at Fenway Park: