When the Boston Red Sox recalled C Blake Swihart (Salem ’13) from AAA Pawtucket on the morning of May 2 and flew him to Boston for an afternoon game at Fenway against the Yankees, he was thrust into the starting lineup right away. Red Sox brass had hoped to keep their top overall prospect at AAA for a full season of conditioning. Those plans changed when fellow C Ryan Hanigan got hurt. Swihart did get a base hit and a walk in his major league debut, but otherwise struggled with his bat, hitting .125 through his first 9 ML games.
Now, he is on fire!
Swihart has apparently found his rhythm at the major league level. Going into Sunday’s game in Texas, Swihart has hit safely in 7 straight games and 9 of his last 10. He has brought his batting average up nearly 100 points, now batting .224. Furthermore, he showed tremendous poise and leadership on the field Thursday in a Red Sox 5-1 win. Fellow rookie, LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, called up for a spot start against the Rangers-his ML debut-ended up throwing 5 no-hit innings, and 7 2/3 innings of scoreless ball with only 3 hits allowed. Swihart was credited with guiding Rodriguez through the game.
The Red Sox have appeared to find their catcher of the future.
Since the Red Sox took over operations at the Carolina League affiliate in Salem, Va., players such as Daniel Nava, Xander Boegarts, Mookie Betts, and Brandon Workman have made it up to Fenway Park and are playing for the Red Sox. Others, such as Anthony Rizzo, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Kalish, and Wil Middlebrooks are now making their marks with other teams.
Now add the name Blake Swihart to the Salem-to-the-bigs pipeline.
The top position prospect in the Red Sox system, catcher Swihart has been called up from AAA, as the team has a huge hole at the position due to Ryan Hanigan suffering a broken hand during Friday night’s game. The Red Sox were hoping to give Swihart a full season at AAA, but has decided that now is the time to get a look at him.
Swihart came through the Roanoke Valley in the summer of 2013, batting .298 with 2 HRs and 42 RBIs for the 2013 Salem Red Sox, and helped them to a Carolina League championship.