Boston Red Sox: A Christian Vazquez All-Star bid not meant to be

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 25: Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after a hit against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on June 25, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 25: Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after a hit against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on June 25, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox have enjoyed quite the first-half of the 2021 season. First place in the American League East.

Winners in 9 of their last 10 games (as of Monday afternoon). The best record in the American League and five all-stars representing the team in the summer classic on July 13.

All-Star representation could have been even more had catcher Christian Vazquez been rightfully selected.

Vazquez was overlooked from the get-go, failing to reach the top-3 for the final round of voting. Onus falls on fans outside of Red Sox nation for this. Despite Vazquez being a steady force the last four seasons behind the plate for Boston, he has yet to earn an All-Star nod. And while he’s not having his best season in 2021, his production was worthy of a selection.

Stability at catcher for Boston Red Sox

All-Star voting often boils down to a popularity contest. Votes often go to a tip-of-the-tongue name, a perennial All-Star with mighty stats, or to players having an extremely noteworthy season. This can sometimes make it tough to crack the elite club.

Vazquez, unfortunately, doesn’t fall into any of three categories listed above.

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In his seventh season, Vazquez is enjoying a fine year, if only slightly down from his breakout in the 2019 season. Vazquez has played in 74 games for the Red Sox in 2021, hitting .257 with four home runs and 32 RBI. They aren’t numbers that win the casual fan over but Vazquez does also have 12 doubles, 8 stolen bases, and has struck out only 54 times (a feat in this day and age).

After a torrid start in which Vazquez his .342 in his first ten games, Vazquez cooled slightly. But he bounced back in June, hitting .282 in 85 at-bats.

In the important games against A.L. East foes, Vazquez is even more valuable. This season, he is 31-103 (.300) against the four opponents. If not for a 5-28 clip against the Toronto Blue Jays, this number would be even better.

Vazquez has all four of his home runs against these teams and 16 of his 32 RBI.

One knock on Vazquez this season has been a slip in defensive play. He has seven errors so far, only one away from the career-high eight he had in 2017. And out of 41 base stealers, Vazquez has only thrown out eight.

Still, an All-Star nod wouldn’t have been too far-fetched.

Selections at catcher includes Boston Red Sox A.L East foe

At this point — as long as he playing in the American League — Salvador Pérez of the Kansas City Royals is an all-star lock.

Perez will be appearing in his seventh All-Star game and has the stats to back it up with 20 home runs, 50 RBI, and a .821 OPS. He also has only two errors and has caught nine runners stealing (in 23 attempts).

It was going to be the backup catcher selection that possibly landed some scrutiny. The two other finalists didn’t exactly win people over with stats. Between Martín Maldonado and his .181 average for the Houston Astros and Yasmani Grandal of the Chicago White Sox, it’s easy to see why Perez was selected to start.

Neither of the two finalists were selected as an All-Star, with the spot going to Mike Zunino of the Tampa Bay Rays. Zunino has 18 home runs and a .537 slugging percentage but he’s hitting only .200 in 54 games.

While Zunino’s selection is warranted there’s really not a lot of reasons why Vazquez couldn’t have been selected over him.

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All-Star selection will never be a perfect system and there should be no love lost that Vazquez wasn’t selected. Sure, it would have marked the first selection for a Red Sox catcher since Victor Martinez in 2010. As long as the downward trend of Vazquez doesn’t continue, however, he should have opportunities in the upcoming years to get the nod. And if it comes as a member of Boston, that would be even sweeter.