25-Year-Old Catcher – Boston Red Sox
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
A severe ankle injury suffered in 2016 was still an issue for Swihart in 2017, as he played in just 71 games during the regular season with the bulk of those coming at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struggled...
Swihart is out of minor-league options and could land a roster spot in 2018 as a utility player who can also catch, Ian Browne of MLB.com reports.
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Blake Swihart: MLB Games Played By Position
Blake Swihart Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Blake Swihart Defensive Stats
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2017 Stat Review for Blake Swihart As compared to the top 200 hitters in 2016 (min 410 PA)
Patience at the plate often leads to positive outcomes.
A couple of useful stats for evaluating a hitter.
Good contact skills often lead to better fantasy stats.
SLG and ISO are useful indicators of power.
Boston Red Sox Roster
MajorsBarnes, Matt (P)
AAABeeks, Jalen (P)
AABall, Trey (P)
A+Jimenez, Dedgar (P)
AAybar, Yoan (OF)
RookieAcosta, Christopher (P)
Blake Swihart: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Swihart started the season behind the plate for the Red Sox, but only lasted six games before he was optioned back down to Triple-A to work on his defense. During a 29-game stint in Pawtucket, Swihart didn't necessarily excel, accumulating just a .655 OPS, though he did post a .344 OBP and expanded his versatility by making starts in left field. The 24-year-old was recalled after Brock Holt was placed on the disabled list, starting all 13 games he played in left field. The switch-hitter slashed .258/.365/.355 in 19 games and 79 plate appearances throughout 2016, bringing his major league totals to .271/.321/.386 in 383 plate appearances. His season ended early after he underwent successful surgery on his left ankle in August, although it shouldn't effect his spring training status. At this point, based on the Red Sox's depth at catcher and left field, it is unlikely that Swihart will be anything more than a part-time player regardless of his position.
Swihart arrived to the major leagues about six months ahead of schedule and was given a more active role than originally plotted for the switch-hitting catcher. Injuries to Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan prompted the Red Sox to call up Swihart, who had just 38 games of experience at Triple-A Pawtucket. He was not a finished product in the minors and his defensive flaws were exposed in the majors. Predictably, he had a tough time at the plate when he first arrived. Swihart was learning new pitchers and trying to be a competent hitter — that's a lot to throw at a 23-year-old backstop. The hitting came along — Swihart hit .303/.353/.452 in the second half — but there's still some development needed in terms of game-calling and blocking pitches. Vazquez is not certain to be ready by Opening Day, so Swihart will likely remain on Boston's roster and part of the catching mix to start the season.
Swihart began the 2014 season, his second full season as a catcher, at Double-A Portland after being named the organization's Defensive Player of the Year at High-A Salem in 2013. He continued his development as a backstop, including throwing out 47 percent of would-be basestealers while consistently recording 1.8-to-1.9 second pop times on throws to second base. After a few years of working on the defensive side of the job, Swihiart is now showing much more with his hit tool. He never went more than two starts without a hit and increased his power, hitting 12 homers and slugging a career-high .487 for the Sea Dogs. He also had a stretch at Triple-A Pawtucket where there was some noticeable drop-off, but nothing that was too concerning. With Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts having graduated to Boston, Swihart becomes Boston's top position prospect. He'll open the season at Pawtucket, with an anticipated 2016 arrival to the major leagues.
Swihart, who will turn 22 before next season, served as a full-time catcher in 2013 and made great strides defensively. He was named Boston's Minor League Defensive Player of the Year after throwing out 42 percent of would-be base-stealers. More importantly, the 175-pounder held up over the grind of catching a full season. Learning the game as a catcher has taken away from Swihart's development as a hitter, but he did alright in that department last year, slashing .298/.366/.428 while increasing his walk total and maintaining a similar number of strikeouts. Along with Christian Vazquez, Swihart represents the catching future in Boston. If Vazquez emerges as the top backstop, Swihart is athletic enough to switch positions (he played third base in high school). It's likely he will open the season at Double-A Portland.
Swihart, drafted out of high school where he played both third base and catcher, spent last season as a full-time receiver. It's a positive sign that the Red Sox placed him at a full-season team, Low-A Greenville, fresh out of high school. He's relatively new to catching and, at this stage of his career, is a bit on the thin side for the position. His development defensively may take away from his production as a hitter, but the switch-hitter projects as a plus hitter for average with modest power. Swihart slashed just .262/.307/.395 with seven homers for the Drive in 2012. Swihart's considered an excellent athlete, who could change positions down the line, but for now he's focused on improving as a backstop. He's likely to be placed High-A Salem to start 2013.
Swihart, a first-round draft pick in 2011, is an athletic switch-hitter who played both third base and catcher during his senior year in high school. The Red Sox will use him solely as a catcher as he enters his first full season in the organization, though he could move off the position as he matures. Swihart projects as a plus hitter for average, but needs to work on his approach and pitch recognition. And there's some power potential, but he's still on the lean side.