With Christian Vazquez potentially facing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, many have speculated that the situation will speed up the timeline of top prospect catcher Blake Swihart. That might still be the case, but the Red Sox acquired Sandy Leon from the Nationals earlier today and manager John Farrell indicated to Ian Browne of MLB.com that Swihart will likely begin the season with Triple-A Pawtucket.
“The view is that, with a young player like Blake, we’d prefer to get them on a little bit of a roll at the Minor League level before they come to us,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “There’s also a need to continue to refine the receiving side of things. He’s had quite a bit of opportunity here in camp. He’s shown well.
“Just in the big picture, I think we can probably all benefit by playing every day and continuing to work on the areas, the developmental areas that are there.”
Swihart is widely regarded as the top catching prospect in the game, but he’s just turning 23 this week and has only played 18 games above Double-A. This isn’t a service time situation like with Kris Bryant and the Cubs. It just makes sense to give him some more time in the minors.
Ryan Hanigan and Leon figure to handle catching duties in the early part of the season, but Swihart could force a call-up if gets off to a good start.