Injuries to Ryan Hanigan and Christian Vazquez led the Red Sox to promote top catching prospect Blake Swihart ahead of schedule, a move that became official today. Here are a few notes on Swihart’s call-up.
- Swihart started catching full-time only after being drafted in 2011 and still has more to learn about calling pitches and working with pitchers, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes. “I think we’re starting to see him recognizing that a little bit more, reading swings, understanding where these hitters are at, and making the attack from them. You can obviously have a pitch plan on paper. That’s nice. But these hitters, they adjust,” says Kevin Boles, Swihart’s manager at Triple-A Pawtucket. “The window that we had last year, he’s very athletic but there still remained quite a bit to work on. There still is, but he’s showing a little more polish at this point.”
- Scouts also think Swihart’s work behind the plate needs additional work, although they think he’s ready offensively, Speier writes. “He will have some defensive lapses just from a lack of total development time, but his athleticism, arm, and makeup will help him survive,” says one scout.
- Swihart isn’t ready to start in the big leagues yet, but a source tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that the Red Sox don’t seem interested in re-acquiring Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who the Marlins recently designated for assignment.
- Swihart possesses considerable upside, with tools reminiscent of Buster Posey, Vince Lara-Cinosomo of Baseball America writes. While Swihart’s work behind the plate will make his transition to the big leagues a tough one, his athleticism should help him.
- The loss of Hanigan, who will require surgery to treat a fracture in one of the knuckles of his right hand, will be a tough one, Sox starter Justin Masterson tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. “It’s a big loss,” says Masterson. “He’s a big part of helping things come together.” Hanigan, acquired last offseason after being traded from the Rays to the Padres and then to Boston, was already making solid progress in getting to know the Red Sox’ pitching staff, manager John Farrell says.