Catching prospect Vazquez makes highlight reel play

Catching prospect Vazquez makes highlight reel play

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A buzz could be heard across JetBlue Park on Friday night, and it was caused by one throw -- a laser out of the hand of Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez.

The fact that the throw that nailed Twins' baserunner Trevor Plouffe in the top of the sixth inning wasn't even the most impressive part of the play.

Vazquez, who is ranked the organization's No. 16 prospect by MLB.com, was credited with a time of 1.82 seconds on the play, said manager John Farrell.

That is about as quick as a catcher can possibly be while throwing out a runner.

"Just outstanding feet, quick release, plenty of arm strength and accuracy," Farrell said after the Red Sox's 2-0 loss. "This is probably the fourth guy he's cut down in Spring Training and all of the same variety. He's confident when he throws a baseball, and that shows in the accuracy and the quickness with which he releases the ball."

A 22-year-old prospect from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the Red Sox selected Vazquez in the ninth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Defensively, he is probably already good enough to play in the Majors.

"I will say this: He's a bright-looking prospect behind the plate," Farrell said. "He's durable. This is a guy that's really come a long way since he signed out of Puerto Rico. He's really worked his way from a stamina standpoint, overall strength. When his arrival date is here, he's probably a couple injuries away in the short term. In the long term, he's got some development left with the bat, but he's a very good prospect behind the plate."

Vazquez has worked on his craft with two of the Molina brothers -- Jose and Yadier.

The main thing they've taught him?

"Be quick with your feet and throw to second base as hard as you can," Vazquez said.

Vazquez has perhaps taken it even to another level.

"Oh, when you consider his quick release -- tonight he was 1.82 throwing the guy out at second base -- he would be in the conversation with a number of [top] guys with quick release and arm strength, that's for sure," said Farrell.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.