Swihart with the Boston Red Sox
|Boston Red Sox – No. 23|
|Catcher / Outfielder|
Born: April 3, 1992|
|May 2, 2015, for the Boston Red Sox|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 5, 2018)
|Runs batted in||50|
Blake Aubry Swihart (born April 3, 1992) is an American professional baseball catcher for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Listed at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) and 205 pounds (93 kg), he throws right-handed and is a switch hitter. His first MLB season was 2015.
Swihart attended V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, where he competed in basketball, baseball, and football. Playing mainly as a shortstop, he had a .602 batting average (56-for-93) with 17 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 41 runs batted in (RBIs) and 58 runs scored in 28 games as a senior. As a pitcher, Swihart's fastball could reach 85 miles per hour (137 km/h) before he began high school, and was up to 98 miles per hour (158 km/h) by the time he was a junior. However, it was during his junior season that Swihart quit pitching because he preferred to hit, and it was also during his junior season when Swihart first began playing catcher.
Swihart played for USA Baseball's 18-Under National Team in 2010 and led his team with a .448 average, earning Louisville Slugger All-American honors. For Team USA, Swihart played first base and left field. He played in the 2010 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic. Off of the baseball field, Swihart had a 4.0 GPA. He committed to attend the University of Texas at Austin on a college baseball scholarship. His best friend is Alex Bregman, who plays for the Houston Astros, with whom he grew up playing travel ball.
The Red Sox selected Swihart in the first round, with the 26th overall selection of the 2011 MLB Draft. He became the highest-drafted player out of New Mexico since Shane Andrews in 1990. Though he played as a shortstop in high school, the Red Sox converted Swihart into a catcher because of his athleticism and strong throwing arm. The Red Sox signed Swihart, giving him a $2.5 million signing bonus to convince him to bypass his commitment to the University of Texas.
Minor League Baseball
Swihart played briefly in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2011 with the GCL Red Sox, then received consecutive promotions to the Greenville Drive of the Class A South Atlantic League in 2012, and the Salem Red Sox of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League in 2013.
Prior to the 2014 season, Swihart was named the 73rd-best prospect by Baseball America. He began the 2014 season with the Portland Sea Dogs of the Class AA Eastern League. In August, the Red Sox promoted Swihart, with pitching prospect Henry Owens, to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Class AAA International League. Swihart was ranked as the second highest-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization for the 2014 season, according to MLB.com.
Swihart was added to the Boston's 40-man roster in November 2014. With fellow prospect Christian Vázquez considered more developmentally advanced, the Red Sox assigned Swihart to Pawtucket to gain more experience at the AAA level. However, Vázquez underwent surgery and was out for the entire 2015 season.
Boston Red Sox
On May 2, 2015, Swihart was called up to the big leagues for the first time, after catcher Ryan Hanigan was placed on the disabled list with a broken finger. On that day, Swihart recorded his first major league hit, against the New York Yankees.
On June 4, Swihart hit his first major league home run in the third inning of an 8-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins. A switch-hitter, Swihart hit the home run from the right side of the plate off Twins' starter Tommy Milone. At 23 years old, Swihart became the youngest Red Sox catcher to hit a home run since Rich Gedman in 1982. When Swihart faced Pat Venditte on June 5, Venditte saw he was batting using a righty batting helmet. Venditte then requested to switch his throwing arm (Venditte could pitch with either arm), and Swihart also changed his helmet. Swihart would strike out later, for Venditte's first strikeout. On August 28, Swihart hit an inside-the-park home run in the 10th inning of a 6–4 win over the New York Mets. On September 29, against Yankees, Swihart had his first career multi-home run game and a career high of five RBIs.
Overall, with the 2015 Red Sox, Swihart appeared in 84 games, batting .274 with five home runs and 31 RBIs. Defensively, all of his appearances were as catcher.
Swihart started playing left field for the 2016 season, and split time between Pawtucket (29 games) and Boston (19 games). With the 2016 Red Sox, he hit .258 with no home runs and five RBIs, while making six appearances at catcher and 13 in left field.
During 2017, Swihart again split time between Boston (six games) and Pawtucket (53 games), while also playing nine games with the GCL Red Sox. With the 2017 Red Sox, he batted 5-for-30 (.167) with no home runs and two RBIs, while defensively playing four games as catcher.
Swihart was converted into a utility player for 2018; he played first base, third base, catcher, and left field during spring training. In mid-May, his agent asked the Red Sox to trade Swihart, given his limited playing time with the team. At the time, Swihart was hitting .138 (4-for-29) in 32 plate appearances, having played games at catcher, first base, left field, and designated hitter. Swihart was placed on the disabled list on August 3, with a right hamstring strain. To that point in the season, he had appeared in 51 games, batting .226 with one home run and six RBIs. He returned to the active roster on August 14.
A gifted athlete from a young age, Swihart also won a national wrestling championship at the age of nine. His father, Arlan, is a nuclear engineer and played basketball for Southern Illinois University.
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- "Blake Swihart's agent asks Red Sox for trade". ESPN. May 16, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Red Sox Roster & Staff – Transactions". MLB.com. August 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
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