Christian Vazquez recently told NESN.com his goal is to become a Gold Glove catcher. To accomplish that goal, Vazquez is seeking to earn the trust of the Boston Red Sox’s pitching staff this spring.
Rick Porcello already has bought in.
Porcello and Vazquez haven’t even been battery mates an entire spring training, yet the veteran pitcher is thoroughly impressed by his catcher’s defensive work, particularly when it comes to pitch-framing.
“My first bullpen session with him I probably threw five, six, seven fastballs that were down below the strike zone that weren’t strikes that when I picked my head up and he caught it, he had it right there. His hands are unbelievable,” Porcello recently told MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffrey in Fort Myers.
“You can tell from the first pitch you throw how a guy catches a ball and whether or not he can frame really well or not. And he’s the best I’ve ever thrown to,” Porcello said. “That’s not to disrespect anybody else, he’s just tremendous and it’s just great talent.”
Porcello, whom the Red Sox acquired over the offseason, worked extensively with Alex Avila and Gerald Laird, among others, during his time with the Detroit Tigers. Neither catcher has Vazquez’s pitch-framing ability, according to analytics, so it’s reasonable to wonder whether Porcello could see an uptick in performance with Boston.
The tandem already is making strides, with Porcello telling MassLive.com that Vazquez’s impeccable work ethic stood out immediately upon meeting the 24-year-old. There obviously will be some adjustments as both players get on the same page, but the early signs are very encouraging for Boston.
“To have someone back there that you know is prepared 100 percent every day working hard, not only cares about his defense but cares about your success, that’s a trust factor you need and he’s been tremendous since Day 1,” Porcello told McCaffrey.
The Red Sox’s ace-less starting rotation has been scrutinized all winter and into spring training, so the pressure will be on this season. Fortunately for the unit, the man on the receiving end is ready to lead.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images