Trade Central: Astros Acquire Christian Vazquez From Red Sox For Two Prospects

Image credit: Christian Vazquez (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

In a move focused on solidifying their major league catching depth, the Astros acquired veteran starting catcher Christian Vazquez from the Red Sox. In return the Astros sent outfield prospect Wilyer Abreu and infield prospect Enmanuel Valdez to Boston.



Christian Vazquez, C
Age: 31 

The long-time starting catcher for the Red Sox, Vazquez was drafted by the organization back in 2008 and played parts of eight seasons in Boston. He’s a few years removed from a standout 2019 where he hit 23 home runs and rated as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. His offensive and defensive play have slid in recent years, but Vazquez can still provide league average defense and hitting. While Vazquez is no star, he presents a clear upgrade at the catching position for the Astros, particularly offensively, as Houston’s catching corps rank at the bottom of several MLB offensive categories as a group. Vazquez is hitting .282/.327/.432 in the last year of his contract and will be a free agent after the season. He should fill a glaring hole in the Astros everyday lineup while proving solid defense and a veteran presence. 



Enmanuel Valdez, 2B
Age: 23

Singed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Valdez has developed into one of the best hitters in the Astros system over the last two seasons. Valdez changed his approach coming out of the 2020 pandemic, and a more patient and power-driven hitter emerged. Valdez saw a sharp increase in his line drive and flyball rates in 2021 as he transformed from an aggressive contact hitter to a well-rounded offensive threat. This season Valdez has taken his production to new heights, hitting .327/.410/.606 with 21 home runs across Double-A and Triple-A. He balances aggression, contact and power well at the plate and could carve out a role as a bat-first utility player. The biggest question is around his future defensive home as he’s been rated as well below-average at his natural position of second base. Whether or not Valdez will hit enough to overcome his lack of defensive value remains to be seen. 

Wilyer Abreu, OF
Age: 23 

An unusually built athlete, Abreu has the ability to play all three outfield positions but is best suited for a corner role long term. He traded contact for power coming out of the pandemic but maintained his low chase rate. In 2022 Abreu has found a more balanced approach at the plate making more consistent contact while still hitting for power. In games Abreu has shown the ability to do damage, hitting 15 home runs through 89 games for Double-A Corpus Christi. He’s continued to hit the ball harder with each passing season, as his 2022 90th percentile exit velocity of 105 mph ranks above major league average. He’s also an excellent basestealer, having been caught just once on 24 attempts this season. Abreu is a tooled-up outfielder with some questions around his ability to hit long term. 


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