Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez is one of the best defensive backstops in Major League Baseball — a fact few would dispute.
But the 27-year-old suddenly has become one of the game’s best offensive catchers, too.
Vazquez went 2-for-4 in Boston’s 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. He now is 8 of his last 17 and 36 of his last 90, a stretch which has raised his season average to .301.
That’s right, Christian Vazquez — with a few caveats — is a .300 hitter.
Among all American League catchers with at least 280 at-bats (Vazquez has 286), the Boston backstop is the only one hitting over .300. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (457 at-bats) leads all Major League catchers with a .315 average.
Given that New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (.283) and Kansas City Royals backstop Salvador Perez (.264) have 427 and 443 at-bats, respectively, Vazquez’s average rightfully has an asterisk attached to it. Still, among the 13 MLB catchers currently sporting .300 averages, Vazquez and Posey are the only backstops with more than 78 at-bats.
With just five home runs and a .764 OPS, Vazquez ultimately still has a ways to go before he’s considered a true offensive weapon. But considering his (now irrelevant) reputation as a catcher known more for his glove than his bat, the Red Sox and their fans have to be thrilled with the production he’s provided at the dish.
Production that, when compared to all other big league catchers, is pretty tough to come by.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays:
— Red Sox manager John Farrell gave an update on utility infielder Eduardo Nunez’s injured right knee before Saturday’s game.
“He’s progressing pretty good,” Farrell said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox pregame coverage. “I think the work he did yesterday in combination with today, just what we understood at the time of the injury. He’s making steady and rapid recovery from it. I know he’s encouraged by the way he felt swinging the bat in the cage earlier today, which was improved over yesterday … So there’s no timetable for his return, but still, to see what he’s able to endure right now, is all very encouraging.”
Farrell added: “We’ve got to progress to the point where he’s running the bases … we’re getting closer.”
— Friday night’s 15-inning win against the Rays lasted six hours and five minutes. Saturday’s triumph took just two hours and 44 minutes.
— Rick Porcello gave up no home runs in his win against the Rays. He’s given up 35 on the year, which is three shy of the team record of 38 which Tim Wakefield set in 1996.
— Porcello also moved to 10-17 with the win, meaning he avoids — for now — becoming the first Sox pitcher to lose 18 games in a season since Dave Morehead and Bill Monbouquette did so in 1965.
— The Red Sox’s magic number to clinch the American League East now is 12 games.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images