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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sox recall Leon from Triple-A; Swihart DFA’d

This was a surprise and smells of desperation.

“By no means [am I] saying that we’re putting this on Blake,” said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. “It’s just, our guys haven’t pitched very well. There’s a combination of factors. But we just felt at this time it was better to bring up more of a veteran-type catcher to handle a veteran starting pitching staff, so that’s what we decided to do.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 17, 2019 at 08:15 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blake swihart, red sox, sandy leon

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   1. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 17, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5832848)
This sucks. They've jerked that kid around pretty much since Day 1. Not that I'm suggesting they should do or should have done anything differently... it just sucks.

Speaking of 'sucks', Sandy Leon.
   2. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: April 17, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5832854)
So does Swihart overtake Bobby Estalella as the starting catcher on the He Coulda Been A Contendah all-time BBTF team (a/k/a the Free Roberto Petagine all-stars)? I presume his multi-position eligibility cinches him a spot on the bench, at least.

Since I'd prefer to carry Hee Sop Choi on the roster - even if Petagine starts - it's important that the bench be able to play multiple positions.
   3. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: April 17, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5832857)
....and no offense intended, Red Sox fans... I can match your every Swihart with an Arismendy Alcantara.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 17, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5832871)
It does seem a bit desperate, but Swihart would still be a Major Leaguer if he had hit like a Major Leaguer. Despite all the talk of his potential, he never did. 626 PAs for an 82 OPS+. Who does he think he is, Sandy Leon (66 career OPS+)?
   5. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5832898)
626 PAs spread across 5 seasons. Each of which he was either moved around from level to level, to different positions, or both. His rookie year 2015 he was 23 and hit .274/.319/.392/.712 in 309 PAs (career high). Then they figured they'd find out at the major league level if he could play the OF, resulting in a grisly ankle injury, after which he was never given more than a couple weeks in a defined role/position. 3 years later they cut him for nothing so he can go start 80 games for the Blue Jays or something.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5832910)
The Red Sox didn't need him there, but can he play 3B?
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5832913)
so he can go start 80 games for the Blue Jays or something


Why would the Blue Jays do that? Jansen is a significantly better catcher than Swihart.
   8. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:34 PM (#5832915)
It does seem a bit desperate, but Swihart would still be a Major Leaguer if he had hit like a Major Leaguer. Despite all the talk of his potential, he never did. 626 PAs for an 82 OPS+.


Yeah, and he hasn't hit all that well in the minors, either. His last big offensive season was in 2014, and you need a little more than that if you aren't all that great a defender.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5832919)
He'd look great on the Rockies, whose catching corps now consists of Tony Wolters (career 61 OPS+) and Drew Butera (career 53 OPS+).
   10. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5832921)
He'd look great on the Rangers, whose catching corps now consists of Jeff Mathis (career 51 OPS+, 2019 -6 OPS+) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa (career 81 OPS+).
   11. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:51 PM (#5832923)
[7] I picked Toronto at random. Let's go with Colorado instead.
   12. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:54 PM (#5832924)
Isiah Kiner-Falefa


No amount of on-field improvement seems like it would be worth not having this name in the lineup as often as possible.
   13. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5832927)
Can't help it, Zonk. I have an irrational reflexive dislike of IKF thanks to the hyphenated last name.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5832929)
Mythical Blake Swihart is a tremendous player. I think any team would be wise to pick that guy up.

   15. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5832936)
I suddenly want to have a son just so I can name him Isaac Klein-Alfafa
   16. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:14 PM (#5832953)
It is likely that I am the biggest Blake Swihart fan who is not related to him but if I were a rebuilding team I'd be all over him. The dude can hit but the Sox for a variety of reasons, many short-sighted in my opinion, he really has not played regularly for several years.

It is possible if not likely that the missed time is too much to overcome and he will never be anything but I'd take a flyer. I mean if I were the Orioles I'd rather be giving at bats to Swihart than Jesus Sucre. He's athletic enough that he has shown he can play other positions with some competence. I'm not saying he's anywhere near as good but his upside is poor man's BJ Surhoff.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5832965)
It is likely that I am the biggest Blake Swihart fan who is not related to him
I doubt that.
The dude can hit
Never mind, I believe you.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:37 PM (#5832973)
He'd look great on the Rockies, whose catching corps now consists of Tony Wolters (career 61 OPS+) and Drew Butera (career 53 OPS+).


Swihart's remainder-of-season ZiPS calls for a 63 OPS+, and he isn't as good a defender as either of those two.

He still might be an upgrade, but it's far from cut-and-dried.
   19. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5832974)
The dude can hit


It's certainly possible, but at this point, what's the actual evidence in favor of that position?
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5832981)
Swihart's remainder-of-season ZiPS calls for a 63 OPS+, and he isn't as good a defender as either of those two.


All due respect to Szym, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, but I would expect a 27-year-old with a career OPS+ of 82 to post an OPS+ this year of 82.
   21. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 17, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5832989)
Maybe the more correct thing to say is he COULD hit before the Sox ###### around with him. He had hit his way solidly through the minors then got rushed to the majors and after struggling early found his stride and hit well in the last few months of 2015. Then in 2016 the Sox buried him after a week then started dicking around with him regarding his position and unsurprisingly he got injured playing a new position.

I know you've long been a Swihart skeptic, which is fine but he was a first round pick drafted as a bat-first catcher who then posted a .794 and .810 OPS in 2013 and 2014 then came to the Majors and hit .274/.319/.392 as a 23 year old. There is every reason to think he could have pushed on from there and been a useful player but the Sox freaked out because Clay Buchholz gave up a 500 foot homer run after Swihart dropped a pop up and he played 116 games over two years and five positions. He'll forever be a "what could've been" guy for the Sox IMO.
   22. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: April 17, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5833003)
posted a .794 and .810 OPS in 2013 and 2014 then came to the Majors and hit .274/.319/.392 as a 23 year old


None of those strike me as numbers that scream, "this guy can really hit."
   23. RJ in TO Posted: April 17, 2019 at 04:21 PM (#5833022)
None of those strike me as numbers that scream, "this guy can really hit."

It's not far off of a "this guy can really hit, for a catcher." Catchers as a whole hit .233/.304/.374 last year, and he beat that as a 23 year old rookie. If he developed up to his minor league numbers, you'd be looking at a C with around a 0.300/0.350/0.450 line, which is damn nice.

Unfortunately, as the Jays have found over the years through what feels like an endless stream of disappointing or failed prospects, catcher offense doesn't always translate that well from the minors to the majors or develop as linearly as you would hope.
   24. TVerik. Old Java Rodney. Posted: April 17, 2019 at 04:39 PM (#5833049)
Who will have more PAs from this point forward - Swihart or Greg Bird?
   25. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 17, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5833058)
All due respect to Szym, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do, but I would expect a 27-year-old with a career OPS+ of 82 to post an OPS+ this year of 82.

He's not pulling numbers out a hat. Swihart put up a 66 OPS+ in a couple hundred PAs in Boston last year, and that was a huge step up from his 2017 minor league line of .187/.261/.284 over 250 PAs.
   26. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:03 PM (#5833089)
[21] a first round pick drafted as a bat-first catcher who then posted a .794 and .810 OPS in 2013 and 2014 then came to the Majors and hit .274/.319/.392 as a 23 year old. There is every reason to think he could have pushed on from there and been a useful player but the Sox freaked out because Clay Buchholz gave up a 500 foot homer run after Swihart dropped a pop up and he played 116 games over two years and five positions.

Exactly. Nail on the head here.

FWIW that .794 was as a 21 year old .298/.366/.428/.794 against league .254/.332/.380/.712
and the .810 was mostly made up of 380 PAs in the EL which looked like .300/.353/.487/.840 against league .261/.327/.392/.718 (he had 71 bad PAs at Pawtucket as a 22 yo).

Dude could hit.

422 PAs .794 OPS 21 years old A+
380 PAs .840 OPS 22 years old AA
309 PAs .712 OPS 23 years old MLB

Dude could ####### hit.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2019 at 05:15 PM (#5833108)
Also, from a projection standpoint, Swihart's 2015 performance has almost no influence on his 2019 projection (I think ZiPS gives some weight to 4 years ago but not very much).

Still ... to be cut in favor of Leon ... is he like twice as bad a framer as Contreras or something?
   28. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 17, 2019 at 06:03 PM (#5833137)
Maybe the more correct thing to say is he COULD hit before the Sox ###### around with him. He had hit his way solidly through the minors then got rushed to the majors and after struggling early found his stride and hit well in the last few months of 2015. Then in 2016 the Sox buried him after a week then started dicking around with him regarding his position and unsurprisingly he got injured playing a new position.

It’s probably easier for players entering MLB if their manger says “You’re our guy, don’t worry about anything, you’re going to start for us all season”, but that’s not how it usually works. Players force their way into the line-up by making the most of their opportunities. Swihart had 207 PAs last season. Perhaps they weren’t ideally spaced, but his .613 OPS suggests he didn’t earn more playing time. He has a career .679 OPS in 626 MLB PAs; and a .726 OPS in 1719 Minor League PAs. Nothing special there. Replacing Swihart doesn’t seem unfair, although replacing him with the likes of Sandy Leon doesn’t seem likely to be much of an improvement.

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