Boston Red Sox fans got accustomed to having a switch-hitting, defensive minded catcher who can hit for a decent average and show some moderate pop at the plate, and there may be another one on his way. Now it would be tough for any catcher to embody the spirit of the Red Sox quite like Jason Varitek did, but Blake Swihart just might.
Swihart has plus-plus makeup by all accounts down to the point that, despite having several tattoos, he will not get one on his right arm because it is his “baby” and the most important part of his game. He has soft hands, excellent footwork behind the dish and a cannon arm that threw out 42 percent of would-be base-stealers in 2013 at High-A.
At the plate he has a good, smooth swing from both sides and plus bat speed. His bat might be able to produce 15+ long balls at the big league level someday.
He will open the 2014 season at the age of 22 and could be in line for a potential September call-up. Swihart’s talent, along with fellow catching prospect Christian Vazquez, are the reasons the Red Sox parted ways with Jarrod Saltalamacchia this offseason and brought in A.J. Pierzynski on just a one year deal. While Vazquez will probably be the first to make his big league debut, Swihart is expected to be the long-term starter behind the plate. The two should combine for the best defensive catching duo in baseball for several years, and Swihart’s offense could make him a perennial All-Star.