Blake Swihart
Blake Swihart
26-Year-Old CatcherC
Boston Red Sox
2019 Fantasy Outlook
To make the Red Sox roster ahead of last season, Swihart was forced to expand his defensive versatility. He played just 28 games behind the plate but wound up logging 21 in the outfield, 10 at first base and a handful across second and third base. The switch hitter failed to work his way up the catching depth chart -- while Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez struggled at the plate, they worked more effectively with the starting pitchers. Swihart's production against righties dwarfed his numbers against lefties, but still, that only amounted to a .748 OPS. His 2019 role might again involve a mix between work behind the plate and around the field, which eventually could push him into second-catcher territory sometime during the year. At this point, the formerly-hyped prospect seems unlikely to make enough contact (27.5 K% in 2018, 25.8% for career) to ever be more than utility player/backup. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $910,000 contract with the Red Sox in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Slaps two doubles
CBoston Red Sox
March 14, 2019
Swihart went 2-for-3 with two doubles in Wednesday's game against the Twins.
Swihart is hitting a robust .412 (7-for-17) with three extra-base hits and five RBI during Grapefruit League action. One of the mysteries in spring training is which of Boston's three catchers will be jettisoned. Christian Vazquez is expected to stick around, so it leaves Swihart and Sandy Leon. Swihart's trajectory as a catcher was interrupted when the organization tried to make him a utility player, so his defense and game calling is not at Leon's level, but his potential as a hitter will factor into the decision. Payroll could also be a consideration: Swihart ($910,000) comes cheaper than Leon ($2.475 million).
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
No Stats
Since 2017vs Left .319 64 4 0 4 1 .131 .172 .148
Since 2017vs Right .744 150 25 3 14 5 .272 .340 .404
2019vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Left .319 64 4 0 4 1 .131 .172 .148
2018vs Right .748 143 24 3 14 5 .275 .336 .412
2017vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017vs Right .629 7 1 0 0 0 .200 .429 .200
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
OPS at Home
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OPS at Home
OPS on Road
Since 2017Home .630 125 18 1 11 2 .239 .288 .342
Since 2017Away .592 89 11 2 7 4 .213 .292 .300
2019Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Home .629 123 18 1 11 2 .241 .285 .345
2018Away .588 84 10 2 7 4 .211 .286 .303
2017Home .500 2 0 0 0 0 .000 .500 .000
2017Away .650 5 1 0 0 0 .250 .400 .250
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Stat Review
How does Blake Swihart compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Blake Swihart
Spring Training Job Battles: Nearing the Finish Line
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24 days ago
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The Z Files: Early Player Pool Observations
154 days ago
Todd Zola offers his early thoughts on the shape of the 2019 player pool and suggests that J.T. Realmuto may be the only catcher left worth an early-round investment.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
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 at the plate, hitting .190/.246/.292 at Triple-A with four homers in 212 plate appearances, but Swihart showed signs of life in the Dominican Winter League, hitting .407/.515/.481 while seeing time at catcher, first base, and DH. The ceiling for Swihart has been lowered in the three years since he swatted 12 homers and delivered an .840 OPS as a 22-year-old at the Double-A level, but the Red Sox appear set on giving him reps at multiple positions with the hope of turning him into a utility player, thanks to his ability to cover multiple spots defensively and to switch hit. Of the small handful of appearances he made with the Red Sox last season, most came behind the plate, leaving him with eligibility as a catcher for those seeking reserve list options in deeper formats.
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.
More Fantasy News
Scores twice in return
CBoston Red Sox
March 5, 2019
Swihart was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base in Tuesday's win over the Nationals.
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Back at camp
CBoston Red Sox
March 4, 2019
Swihart (personal) returned to Red Sox camp Monday and will re-enter the lineup for Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Nationals, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports.
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Returning to team
CBoston Red Sox
March 3, 2019
Swihart (personal) is rejoining the Red Sox and could return to game action Tuesday, Chris Cotillo of reports.
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Flies home to New Mexico
CBoston Red Sox
February 28, 2019
Swihart flew home to New Mexico following Thursday's game against the Nationals, Michael SIlverman of the Boston Herald reports.
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Entering camp as catcher
CBoston Red Sox
January 17, 2019
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Swihart will enter camp with a chance to open the season as the starting catcher, Chris Cotillo of reports. "He's coming to camp to compete to be our starting catcher," Dombrowski stated.
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