Boston Red Sox Director of Player Development Ben Crockett said Friday that catcher Christian Vazquez is “very close” to being major league ready. The 23-year-old is missing one key ingredient: facial hair.
A clean-shaven Vazquez, one of 10 participants in this year’s Red Sox Rookie Program, answered questions (through an interpreter) from reporters at Harvard University on Friday. One question — from NESN’s Gary Striewski — jokingly centered on the backstop’s lack of facial hair and whether he’d be able to produce enough face moss to join Boston’s bearded bunch. Vazquez, while laughing, said through his interpreter that he’s unable to grow much facial hair, and suggested that he instead use a Sharpie to draw a beard onto his face.
It was a funny moment to cap off a week of workouts and seminars for the Red Sox prospects. The idea of the Rookie Program is to prepare up-and-coming minor leaguers for life in the majors, where Vazquez could soon find himself if anything happens to either A.J. Pierzynski or David Ross this season.
It’s possible that Vazquez could be the Red Sox’ starting catcher in 2015, as Boston was unwilling to sign a veteran catcher to a multiyear contract this offseason because of its faith in Vazquez and fellow catching prospect Blake Swihart. Maybe if Vazquez starts growing his beard now, the Sharpie will be unnecessary by then.