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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Fangraphs: Christian Vazquez is Partially Elite

Vazquez has long had the reputation of being an outstanding defensive catcher with a little bit of offensive upside. He’s always been praised for his skills in the field, so that’s our background: We already had reason to believe in Vazquez’s defense. He’s had only a few blocking opportunities. He’s had only a few throwing opportunities. He’s had more than 1,000 framing opportunities. Though it’s been only a few weeks, all the evidence suggests Vazquez is one of the best receivers in baseball.

Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: August 05, 2014 at 10:06 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: August 05, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4764597)
Meant to blockquote the above selection.
   2. DKDC Posted: August 05, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4764635)
It looks like framing ability (or whatever that stat measures) stabilizes pretty quickly, but we’re still talking about a sample size of 15 games.

Maybe he’s elite, maybe he’s not. He’s probably at least pretty good. The article says as much, but the headline does what headlines do.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 05, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4764750)
Vazquez coming up and doing what he's done defensively and framing wise is the equivalent of Joey Gallo hitting 5 homers in his first 10 games. It's not proof of anything but it rather nicely supports the scouting reports that he's very good at this stuff.

The biggest surprise so far has been his bat. I don't expect a ton out of him offensively but his at bats are consistently good. He doesn't get himself out and seems pretty disciplined. He's probably a .250 hitter with minimal power ultimately but it's the fact that he'll get there without making me want to punch him in the face that is encouraging.

I really hope the Sox can put together the bats to keep Vazquez and Bradley in the lineup every day next year. They are awfully fun to watch defensively. And of course both guys have to carry their own weight offensively which is a bit touch and go with JBJ so far.
   4. Boxkutter Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4764972)
He's partially elite? Good. Then he can back up Swihart this time next year.
   5. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4764987)
I think Swihart is a candidate to be traded, unless Vazquez falls flat on his face in the next year. With his defense and pitch framing, Vazquez is a 3+ WAR player if he can keep hitting like this.

EDIT: Vazquez strongly reminds me of Yadier Molina. Even if he never develops offensively beyond what Molina hit from 2007-2010, that's a valuable player. That's a cost-controlled 15+ WAR in his arbitration years.
   6. Danny Posted: August 05, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4764990)
That strike zone graphic is crazy, especially on the low pitches.
   7. SY Ruined School Lunches! Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4764998)
The craziest thing about that map is not just that he's getting an extra inch on 3 sides of the plate, but that he's getting those calls almost without exception, in addition to everything in the zone.
   8. tfbg9 Posted: August 05, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4765005)
He's very polite to all the umpires.
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 05, 2014 at 09:27 PM (#4765184)
The Red Sox are going to have a very interesting decision to make sometime later in 2015, or entering 2016. As lousy as the major league team has been this year, the minor league system is producing a ton of players who appear likely to provide value at the major-league level.

At catcher, Vazquez is going to be among the best defensively, and his bat (as said above) looks like it will be good enough. He is young, and cost controlled for years to come. He also, by local media accounts and the "eye test", is already a favorite of the pitching staff. He is extremely encouraging, high-energy, and very high-IQ. The pitchers say they love pitching with him, and he has been receiving training on the "art" of catching from a very early age in Puerto Rico, direct from the Molina brothers. (Seriously, he grew up 20 minutes from them, and has been working with Jose for years.)

Swihart got promoted to AAA yesterday, is also young for AAA, and is hitting for average and power in the minors. He also is throwing out 49% of baserunners this year, and is seen as having an excellent arm. Most scouting reports have him being the best or second-best catching prospect in baseball (Vazquez is probably in the top five).

Scouts talk about Buster Posey is a potential comp for Swihart. Vazquez is talked about as a Molina-quality defensive catcher, with a bat that won't embarrass you. You'd take either in a second - but there is ZERO chance that either is getting traded this off-season. They'll have to figure it out after the 2015 season, when Swihart is likely ready for the bigs, and Vazquez will have had the starting job for a full season...
   10. Textbook Editor Posted: August 06, 2014 at 02:00 AM (#4765291)
What would be interesting to know is whether or not 1,000 framing opportunities represents a decent sample size. IOW... If you picked a random 1,000 F.O. for Jose Molina or AJ Pierzynski, would any 1,000 F.O. you chose correctly show (within, say, 5%) what he usually rates?

I guess what I'm wondering is if a C can go on a "framing hot streak" and thus (perhaps) what we're seeing is a "hot streak" instead of a true talent level.

I suspect that "framing hot streaks" might happen over 200-300 F.O. but would likely even out over 1,000+, but I really have no idea.
   11. Boxkutter Posted: August 06, 2014 at 02:43 AM (#4765299)
I suspect that "framing hot streaks" might happen over 200-300 F.O. but would likely even out over 1,000+, but I really have no idea.

I would think that about 10,000 is about what you'd want to see for concrete evidence. 1000 pitches is what? Seven games? I'd like to see half a season worth of data to draw any real conclusions.

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