Christian Vazquez might want to get his buddy something special.
The Boston Red Sox catcher is enjoying a breakout season at the plate — a surprising development given his 2018 struggles — and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal revealed in an article published Wednesday that Vazquez credits his good friend for playing a large part in the turnaround.
Here’s more from Rosenthal:
The friend, a former outfielder in the Rockies’ organization named Marcos Derkes, recommended that Vázquez start hitting with Lorenzo Germania, who also instructs Mariners catcher Omar Narváez.
Vázquez wanted to improve his launch angle, but that hasn’t happened — his angle actually has declined from 12.6 degrees last season to 12.0 this season. What is different is his exit velocity, which has jumped by nearly three mph, from 87.2 to 90.0.
Vazquez hit just .207 with a .540 OPS in 80 regular-season games in 2018 after hitting .290 with a .735 OPS in 99 regular-season games in 2017. It’s fair to assume the regression partly stemmed from the fractured pinkie Vazquez suffered last July, but the 28-year-old has bounced back in a huge way in 2019, hitting .294 with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and an .894 OPS in 78 games.
Whether or not Vazquez’s friend is responsible for the backstop’s offensive success is debatable. But according to Rosenthal, Derkes currently works at a car dealership in Miami, proving again that help — however big or small — often can come from unexpected sources.
Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images