Christian Vazquez quietly has transformed himself into one of the best young catchers in baseball.
The Boston Red Sox rewarded him for his progression by giving him a three-year contract extension last weekend. Vazquez might just be getting started, according to an anonymous big league scout.
Sports Illustrated got scouting reports for every team in the majors from anonymous big league scouts. The scout assigned to the Red Sox had some high praise for Vazquez, comparing him to one of the best catchers of a generation: St. Louis Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina.
“Christian Vázquez is a defensive guy. He’s very good. He cares. He works hard. I like him a lot,” the scout wrote. “I hate to call him Yadi, but he is pretty close because of the care he puts into it.”
The comparisons aren’t totally without merit, as there’s a lot of similarities between the two Puerto Rican catchers. They’re both defensive-minded with strong leadership qualities.
But where Molina really took the next step and turned himself into a perennial All-Star was at the plate. After hitting just .238 in parts of his first three seasons, Molina’s career batting average is all the way up to .284, and the 34-year-old even won a Silver Slugger in 2013 when he drove in 80 runs. Just last season, Molina hit 18 home runs to go along with a career-high 82 RBIs.
Vazquez is a little behind that pace offensively as a 27-year-old, and it might be unlikely he ever matches Molina’s offensive production across the board. In 99 games last season, though, Vazquez hit .290 — 63 points higher than his 2016 clip.
Again, he’s got a long way to go in order to reach Molina status, but if Vazquez is anything close to that, the Red Sox certainly will take it.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images