We’re taking a look at all 316 players to appear in Houston’s system through the 2022 campaign.
Christian Vázquez is a five-foot-nine, 205 lb. righty-hitting catcher from Bayamon, PR. Born on August 21, 1990. he was a ninth-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 2008 draft, with the 292nd overall pick out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. Vazquez was the 11th player drafted from the 292nd position to make the majors. The 12th, Travis Shaw, leads all of them with an 8.3 WAR. Vazquez signed with the Sox to a deal that included an $80,000 bonus.
Vazquez worked his way up through Boston’s system, making his major league debut in 2014. He has since appeared in 698 games for the Red Sox, mostly as a catcher but also sometimes a first, second, or third baseman as needed. He slashed out a .292/.311/.389 slashline with the Sox, with 54 home runs and 266 RBI. He also stole 28 bases in 42 attempts. At the 2022 trade deadline, he was traded to the Houston Astros for Wilyer Abreu and Enmanuel Valdez.
Through the rest of the regular season, Vazquez appeared in 35 of Houston’s games. On August 14, he hit three singles with an RBI and a run scored in a 6-3 win against the Oakland A’s. Four days later, in a 21-5 dismantling of the Chicago White Sox, he hit four more singles, knocking two in and scoring three times. In the regular season finale, he donked his first Astros homer, a solo shot that proved to be the eventual game-winner in a 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Vazquez posted a .250/.278/.308 slashline after joining Houston. Defensively, he caught 226 2⁄3 innings for the Astros, making two errors to finish with a .992 fielding percentage. He was more-or-less an “average” catcher, finishing two BIS defensive runs above average and two total-zone fielding runs below. Basestealers enjoyed success in 14 of their 17 attempts on his right arm. Vazquez appeared in six games through the playoffs, going four-for-17 with three RBI.
Sure, Vazquez isn’t a “franchise” catcher, but he is a great clubhouse presence and a solid game-caller. I could easily see him backstopping somewhere between 60-and-70 games for just about any franchise, less Philadelphia and Baltimore. Currently a free agent, he will wind up on somebody’s opening-day roster, and I hope it’s Houston’s.