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Can Christian Vazquez Repeat Magical 2019 Campaign?

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The 2019 season was largely a forgettable year for the Red Sox filled with injuries and failed expectations. While they were unable to return to the postseason after winning the World Series, there were a few bright spots. One was Christian Vazquez, who had a breakout year with the bat. With Spring Training less than a month away, he will again be a key part of the offense as he looks to replicate last year’s numbers.

Going into 2019, Vazquez was coming off a down year in which he hit .207 in 251 at-bats. The Puerto Rican native only had  16 runs batted in and struggled at times defensively, which had been his strength.

Last season, however, Vazquez was a difference-maker offensively. In 482 at-bats, he hit 23 home runs with 72 runs batted in. He set career-highs in virtually every offensive category, including doubles with 26 and total bases with 230. The Red Sox catcher showed improved patience at the plate as he walked 33 times, surpassing his total from the previous two years combined.

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Although Vazquez excelled with the bat, he was just as good defensively. The second-round pick only had two errors all season, one of which came as a catcher, and caught 22 base-stealers. Vazquez also showcased his versatility as he saw time at second, third, and first base.

Furthermore, Vazquez showed that he could handle an increased workload. Last season, the 29-year-old appeared in a career-high 138 games. Entering 2019, he had never appeared in more than 99 games or had more than 324 at-bats in a season. As Sandy Leon struggled, Vazquez made it hard for the Red Sox to keep him out of the lineup.

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As the Red Sox look to put what has been a drama-filled offseason in the rearview, they are hoping Vazquez can once again be a bright spot. In his breakout season, the Red Sox backstop made what had been a weak spot in the lineup a strength. His new backup, Kevin Plawecki, is not expected to add much offense as he has only hit above .225 once in his career.

The Red Sox will enter 2020 as underdogs in a division full of young talent. In order for them to return to the postseason, they will need Vazquez at his best. In a lineup full of stars, he will be out to prove that last year was no fluke.

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