"I learned a lot working with Salty and Ross and Varitek. It was fun, my first time," Vazquez said.
Vazquez is known for his defense behind the plate, particularly his ability to throw out base runners. A few scouts note that he has one of the quickest releases to second base. So far, Vazquez has thrown out better than 40 percent of would-be base stealers this season.
In the offseason, Vazquez worked with two experienced major league catchers, spending a lot of time running drills.
"My defense, that's my main thing. I worked with Yadier and Jose Molina every day."
Manager Kevin Boles is appreciative of the defensive presence behind the plate on days Vazquez catches.
"As far as catch and throw ability, he's a guy with a real quick release, he can block well, strong hands, he receives well," Boles said.
"He does a real nice job calling the games, pitchers enjoy throwing to him. He maintains a consistent tempo."
Offensively Vazquez was off to a decent start, hitting .259 through his first 34 games. Despite a lackluster June that has seen him hit just .157, he has been having competitive at bats and making pitchers work.
"I'm working with the hitting coach in the cage, don't think too much, and stay to the middle of the field. It's coming," Vazquez said of his offense this year.
Batting average aside, part of Vazquez' solid numbers thus far is his improved plate discipline, evidenced by the fact that he has nearly as many walks as strikeouts almost three months into the season.
"Offensively he's starting to manage his at-bats," Boles said of his backstop. "He's compacted his strike zone a little bit; he's getting better pitches to hit, hitting the ball to all fields. He takes that from his batting practice into the game; he's done a real nice job as far as that adjustment."
Matt Spring, the other catcher on the Sea Dogs has only played in 26 games but he has also been an offensive weapon for the Sea Dogs. Spring is hitting .260 with six home runs and 25 RBI. This internal competition seems to be a benefit to both young catchers.
"They're guys that exchange information," Boles said. "Obviously you have internal competition but these guys feed off each other, they're willing to help each other out with the routines they work together with understanding in the bullpen as far as what our pitching staff has, what kind of personnel that we have and making those adjustments."
Vazquez still has work to do in order to progress to the next level, but mostly it will come with simple playing time.
"He needs innings behind the plate. With the game calling, that's usually the last thing that comes with catchers, understanding the mental part of the game, and learning different personnel because we're going to have different personnel rotate in here," coach Boles said.
"He caught a lot of different guys in Major League camp, caught a lot of different guys back down in minor league camp, so just learning the pitchers, understanding what their strengths are what their pitch mix is and making sure he's on the same page as them in maintaining that quality tempo, that he's done so far."
For now, Vazquez is staying simple, playing the game with what may be the most talented Sea Dogs roster since Pedroia, Lester and Papelbon led the team in 2005.
"We got a lot of good players here. We have a lot of good pitchers here, a good staff here, good arms, it's fun," Vazquez concluded.
PORTLAND, ME – One of the most talked about prospects coming out of Ft. Myers this year was catcher Christian Vazquez. Since the Red Sox selected him in the ninth round of the 2008 draft, Vazquez has been methodically making his way through the lower levels of their farm system. This spring Vazquez received his first invitation to Major League Spring Training and seized the opportunity.
Vazquez Just Having Fun
Christian Vazquez is a defensive wiz and he's making some offensive progress too.
Portland Beat Writer
Vazquez has been a stalwart defensively
Jun 25, 2013