The 2015 Red Sox roster shapes up to be very different from the roster that opened the season in 2014. With just over a month until pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Ft. Myers we took a look at the current Red Sox roster position by position compared t0 2014. We will start our breakdown by looking at the catching position.
Opening Day Catchers 2014 – A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross
A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross started the 2014 season sharing duties behind the plate. Pierzynski was signed by the Red Sox in an effort to increase offensive production out of the position. He replaced Jarrod Saltalamacchia who signed a free agent deal with the Florida Marlins after the 2013 season. Pierzynski appeared in 72 games for the Sox behind the plate and as a DH. He batted just .254 with four home runs and 31 runs batted in. He didn’t quite live up to expectations and was released on July 9th. He finished the 2014 season with the St.Louis Cardinals.
Ross spent two seasons with the Red Sox and appeared in 50 games in 2014 batting a measly .184 with seven home runs and 15 runs batted in. Ross signed a free-agent deal with the Chicago Cubs this off-season and will join battery mate Jon Lester.
Christian Vazquez was called up from Pawtucket on July 9th to replace Pierzynski. Vazquez appeared in 55 games for the Red Sox down the stretch and batted. 240 with one home run and 20 runs batted in. Vazquez was drafted by the Red Sox in the 9th round of the 2008 draft out of Puerto Rico.
Dan Butler also shared some time behind the plate in 2014. He made his major league debut on August 10th in a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Angels. Butler batted. 211 in seven games with four hits in 19 at bats. Butler was traded on January 14th to the Washington Nationals for left-handed pitcher Daniel Rosenbaum.
Ryan Lavarnway who was also drafted in the 2008 draft by the Red Sox in the 6th round appeared in nine games for Boston in 2014. Lavarnway never quite lived up to expectations with Boston and could never seem to get over the hump. Lavarnway was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles on December 23rd.
Going into 2015, Vazquez is the lone holdover on the 40-man roster. He is joined by Ryan Hanigan and Blake Swihart.
Ryan Hanigan who originally hails from Andover Massachusetts was signed as an amateur free agent in 2002 by the Cincinnati Reds and made his major league debut in 2007 with Cincinnati. Hanigan was traded by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. He appeared in 79 games for the Rays in 2013 batting .218 with five home runs and 38 runs batted in.
Hanigan was then dealt to the San Diego Padres in December of 2014 and then was immediately turned around and shipped to Boston in exchange for Will Middlebooks.
Blake Swihart rounds out the group and is poised to make his major league debut in 2015. Swihart has been one of the top prospects in the Red Sox farm system. Swihart was drafted 26th overall in the 2011 draft and has quickly worked his way through the farm system. In 92 games in Double A Portland Swihart batted. 300 with 12 home runs and 55 runs batted in. Swihart was promoted and played 18 games for Pawtucket at the end of the season and in 18 games batted .261 with a homer and nine runs batted in.
Overall in 2014 the Red Sox were 23rd in the league in batting at the catcher position with a .230 average and 11 home runs. On the defensive side they were also 13th in number of stolen bases allowed with 87. Certainly the Red Sox will be looking for much more offense from the catching position in 2015.
Coming up next week we will take a look at the infield positions for the Red Sox.
Photo Credit: Blake Swihart by redsox.com