WEEI>On Demand>>Minor Details Ep. 58: The state of Red Sox catching

Minor Details Ep. 58: The state of Red Sox catching

Jul 9, 2013|

Red Sox catching prospect Blake Swihart and Red Sox minor league catching coordinator Chad Epperson join the podcast in order to take stock of some of the more intriguing performances by Red Sox minor league catchers in 2013. Increasingly, the position represents an area of organizational strength.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

This week we're gonna take a look at some of the developments with catchers in the Red Sox minor league system for years and years it seemed as if there was a conversation about. Whether or -- the Red Sox were ever going to be able to develop someone capable. Of shouldering the load after Jason Varitek moved on from his seemingly eternal role as the everyday catcher for the Red Sox. Well. Varitek has moved on at this point to and obviously Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended up being the solution. But beyond Saltalamacchia the red sex now he would agree to a promise throughout their -- leaks as some at that position. In particular this year's been impressive for the standout performances. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- As well as Christian Vazquez and double they're putting together two seasons there really do potentially suggest. Futures is as perhaps every day mutually catchers. We'll talk with Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson about the state of catching in the Red Sox come but first we'll check in with white -- down in Salem. Why -- relatively new to -- you only picked it up in high school. In the last year represented. Really his first extensive exposure to the position. So it's worth asking how different is it to be of a second year pro catcher as opposed to having had that first exposure. To the everyday roles and responsibilities of doing so last -- Greenville. You know it's a lot different my first you know I didn't know what to expect but you know her -- And -- -- -- this year I knew what I news do Ari do you audit ready player. Keep the play corner or if you gain -- army -- in place here and I'm a bit -- a lot more apparent I was first here. What was the most difficult to what was the biggest challenge that you face in that first year because you know I have to think it. You know from from the simple standpoint of how different professional stuff is going to be across the rotation. Theater probably seeing working with a lot of different bit this has brought a lot of a lot of first time things that you're experiencing. As a catcher in your career when you're in Greenville after having been drafted out of high school. Yes that would mean -- alert out of you catcher had never looked up or slide. Learn how to call pitches work situation where. Where to reach sleep all that so. I mean I'm just trying to perfect and now I can only -- and every day. As much of a challenge as it was that first -- where there -- birdie any because you're athletic enough to play a lot of different positions right. That was one of the things that got talked about there were some people. Who wondered are the Red Sox going to develop like as a catcher. Because that might slow down a development -- could have hit it as another position. Was there ever a point in Greenville last year or for that matter -- in Salem this year. Where Utah where you thought band I did not know what I was signing up four point when I jumped into the idea of being a professional catcher. No not at all army. Reportorial. -- to trapped in the catcher I believe. You know it's actually see it that naturally. The next problem at work are there. And they change partners which is our position right now people are. You started catching in high school that was something that you made a conscious decision I mean you sought out training I believe the Albuquerque baseball academy. I'm in order to in order to develop that skill why. Yes I did I. Why some former senior year. What -- so uncle facilities there and work out by catcher. I think my dad died Friday or or darker baseball -- -- work -- owner in the dodgers' organization and it is scheduled to learn learn from and then do what's record due to recruit there or you know -- -- -- -- -- -- at third base. -- architect like to regain sector. Here. Did you find it to be it was it was it a kind of a match for you -- your skill at the baseball player or for your personality -- for both. I think it's provoked. Me. I think complaining apparently utility guy and I think I. I think my personality of -- Are hoping that everybody being willing are they are gorgeous in their yards so you know your leader a finger -- is it different. In that first year in that first professional year that you had in Greenville what was the one area that most challenging you know you said it -- generally learning you know learning to be a catcher. It in in its entirety but was there one thing that was just punishing -- you know just like. Blocking drills were on a date that you quote -- have off they're beating the snot out of you with balls in the dirt that sort of thing. -- Well -- said they -- -- troubles they got to learn. Was reading that it's like yes -- are also. Being able to where we're both worked out for a second day. I mean if -- perfect but we're not exactly you're Brokaw users or I left right arm you know -- -- As well. It's been my biggest improvement I'd say is we'll work force that -- Then coming back in the spring training this year you know the one of the good things about player development -- mechanical things is that a lot of times. You get to advance with guys who you've worked with before. How different was it for instance catching guy like Henry Owens. The viewers you know obviously we've basically been connected with I think you both were on teen USA together when you're in high schools that correct. So you know you've obviously had had a longstanding history how different is it for you catching Henry Owens now than it was a year ago. I mean. If you ask -- yourself heating value of any situation now. Runner on base whatever I know exactly what they want apparently want to throw. Like Ali lit up that dummy site down their justice PNC. Dispute in the Czech the hitters had a little bit. Eight it says it's pretty amazing -- I can pick up what he wants when he wanted the big difference from. Look at -- and AFLAC all American game. I mean it's just -- informed -- that UK history teacher -- street rhetoric or. One of the things that did it has struck me is that when we you and I talked -- the last time that we talked was just sometime in the middle of spring training. Entering last entering the 2012 season. And at that point you said you know what I've never really had a home on the baseball field because if if memory serves replica is allowed to move all over the place. How different is it just going through. A season going through basically your professional baseball life. With everything being you know with with that kind of security with that knowledge that every day you're showing up. Whenever you're going to be in the lineup it's going to be as a catcher. -- -- -- I mean it's it's like -- -- what you gonna do what are your play well I mean I just like you're on the new planets is the Specter so. I mean just blow in the air knowing your catcher in the east China UW lead on you've got to be the coach -- pretty much. I think the best per person learn from assert that whatever -- orchestrated -- -- and and -- just -- like I mean I got atmosphere. Was this spirit that anybody there. How much interaction have you had with Varitek to point. Talking silent spring training and it came out the Salem couple weeks ago its first series in our park everyday about. He gave -- How helpful is it to have a guy like Ameritech grieving like a Chad Epperson Europe. That they're catching coordinator in the Red Sox system. Who would not only guys -- were catcher has professionally but also switch hitting catchers who kind of understand the workload the different elements that you're managing. Also for being there to support -- whatever works in her. I need something answered -- -- all -- -- text -- and well me out after being. Right there. Comedy called republic. Once -- week. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Talking with Red Sox catching prospect Blake's wife heart. This year you've been able to play a lot more than you did last year I think you're almost at the same number of games played at this stage of the season that you played. All of last year as as a catcher behind plate. How different is that how how intense is the workload. Or do you not feeling yet physically. Off on a little guilty yeah -- feel. I mean like Islam better this year I'll actually happened was working on both our first years ago they -- Wear down her purse here that -- -- gains. Just keep experience while that this year. They in -- muscles are little I'm on what you know. These cardinals we gains in because of that acting like a morning group really gain more control of the game just like. From just idiots that are out of -- our morning group there. I I was going to ask to what degree is it is -- offense different this year toward degrees your routine to the you know kind of different this year than it was a year ago in terms of being able to manage. You know. Getting ready to hit right -- getting ready you had like -- left handed catching. And to in what have you -- about where you are as a hitter this year vs a year ago. -- Sadler in Cutler had a these are my approach actual ball close -- without. The other what they -- these -- topics you know. And now I had to learn I had to learn arrow to get approach Cutler. In. All that so I mean I've improved a lot there in my approach is -- my -- election is a lot better. There is a big improvement but I keep. With regard to -- with regards to your your season -- professional development. And how closely has has what happened in your in your professional career aligned with your expectations of what signing in turning pro is going to be like. In law I had a lot of help now treaty on Saturday night at east lake yeah that's a big old eight bit or what to expect a lot of -- It's apparently or by Brad inexperienced retreating well. I don't -- or Oprah or so before the fact that they were willing to talk. Talking only be realistic about -- -- -- all the liquid or wherever. It's what it's like the ark -- it's a lot longer term. Any you know you were you were obviously a huge University of Texas. In -- -- -- even before you were a commit -- you know even before you -- you had committed to wanted to get to play a scholarship there. Have you ever had any moment of like in the middle of the whatever ten now her bus -- saying. Mean that would have been kind of way to go to school. I never I mean you can't look back evening out or -- is certainly liked this. They're little like in this bill we. -- I never thought I'd never looked back on I. They'd rather make the most of it because our look back -- let -- -- -- -- -- fireworks are called upon -- -- level. Global all I have to go through anyway. -- you would probably have to. Go ahead I'm sorry. Yeah. Yeah it really is interesting because. As the the phenomenon of catching like has a different development path oftentimes so that even a guy who's -- a pretty advanced you know catcher coming out of college. May still have to sort out its single they -- is that another position. You may have to start at Heidi you may you may have the opportunities are high like Jackie Bradley did last -- something. It of it is it is also interest and revisit that though I realized they don't look back but you would've been draft eligible after this season Texas correct. Yes I will be an alternate structural -- Right so you know so -- saw you kind of have that opportunity like take stock of where you are in your career. Which is obviously you know playing at a pretty advanced level -- -- high EA and say you know this is. And here's where I am vs having been at Texas and kind of getting ready for the draft and it stresses. Yes that Miami. Like a man Irvin. We know we don't have experience now nominee what approach. Why maturity according -- Where are what are the areas of your game at this point where you're hoping to see the most progress going forward. I mean honestly everywhere know that -- everybody that what I can improve everywhere any catching. It will actually blocking balls don't eat up every -- -- -- and so -- partisan who -- here. That's a much better universal response then those have been Tim if ever when responded nowhere I'm fine with where I am. One thing that does that is interesting to me I know fit in in Albuquerque in high school you know you had a reputation as being a guy. Who who hit with a fair amount of power. In he's in Salem is a tough hitting environment and the Carolina league to be tough home run hitting environment. And you -- that's the same time you're average has been excellent to hear -- on base has been excellent -- here. You've got you know you've got two homers at this point here is that something that you care about. I mean. Really no ego and his -- dropped. Are pretty impressive scene there like OK they thought about it let the fight already able it -- isn't it publicly what it's all. I doubt about it. Because of where we play. The way to market the balls are there so I'm not to worry about it -- So at this stage you know are you starting to our -- now that you kind of have developed routines now that you started to kind of understand. You know understand. How to improve your game and also. You know the direction that you wanna take your game does that start to make the idea of moving up the player development matter more realistic. That's me and everyone else so I just had to be able to do what I do when he's been there and I -- And accurately. You know I hope it -- I don't know. At this point is there anyone -- game whose whose game you you would you model your own after or who you would like to kind of resemble as a player. Honestly though I mean. All -- or anything they're awful but nobody. Dug out there -- around my experience actually almost lower so what will that they've never gave up four I don't. I honestly don't know enough yet -- -- actors you know look fort. -- -- -- how to act like what how they're -- is developing and I'd rather. Do my coaches omitted doing and learn to be like myself. What an interesting thing that you know at this young part of your professional for your party had an opportunity get feedback from Varitek you've already had an opportunity to have. The guy like you know a guy like -- you know put eyes on him. -- -- -- One of school she yielding just one day we hear from the -- over that you'd better. Just be clear here which -- are we talking about -- touched his current pudge Rodriguez. Yeah that's a good one man well I guess they're both pretty good ones and their own right no doubt. To me it's always so it it there really isn't -- -- to think about how development works with catchers because. You know you'll almost have to be. A community unto your cells can mean is is that notion reinforced. In spring training you know do you guys. Another third always been a tradition of you know of bear attack in some in the other Major League catcher is taking out basically every catcher in the organization. Is there's still that kind of that dynamic that -- you know group amongst themselves. Oh definitely I mean I can sort of partially Blair. While my back will lower my brother I mean you're. Optics is very old Ahmad at page in I don't live on the block it and look like they're there but I doubt on under an -- The last is -- and help each other -- You're named an all -- this year -- in for the Carolina league California League all star game how much does that mean to you. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Thanks very much for joining Blake really appreciated it -- You've now heard from Blake's wife -- who may well be the Red Sox highest ceiling catching prospect. But he's not alone in having a terrific 2013 campaigned as someone behind the plate. There are other in the system who are all are having standout years in various pass of the game. -- you'd be hard pressed to find a person more eager to talk about some of those performances the Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson. Personal works closely with all the -- throughout the minor league system in hopes of helping them. It against their games and he's seen a considerable amount of progress over the course of this season. Would discuss a few different catchers. But first and why heart was someone who represented something of a project or -- player with a considerable amount of development work in front of him. When he signed with the Red Sox after being taken in the first round of the 2011 draft. Will start there what has had a person seen in terms of why -- step forward in the 2013 season. He was more in our scouts were were dead unless I mean obviously what you just mentioned there's limited time on the plate as high school. You know career too -- it just -- they have let -- -- as. Don't you made a point to me that he only caught a couple games and those are against teams. Is coached. Teams were running and actually put my on the plate the other tries to put shorter so are added so that was very limited time -- play. But our scouts do and it's -- not. To say this kicking get it immediately know is that well as citizens -- this kid has all church make up. Though there was no doubt that money got him what he came here -- they were that army you'd be taken through this. -- program the Red Sox cap -- that tell -- he's he's adapted to a well. And -- it's almost with -- why argue that this say OK listen. -- you saw him point eight -- -- and he wanted to move part of national and that's how what was this cute or so. Still kudos to those guys -- mean they were right dollars what destruction of -- we all knew we could swing the bat handle it. And he's just he's done a great job and what a great -- make a plot to charge them in this guy's always. Bringing that consistent demeanor and approach to the park daily. The trust is routines I mean as is routine and eighty's he's reaping the benefits from now. Touching such a highly technical undertaking you know there are so many areas for for refinement and and improvement that are just you know so difficult to appreciate you. You know to those were unfamiliar with it where would you where would you identify the areas where granted technical areas for Blake has gotten better since he got hands on. Well is receiving obviously it's a the biggest thing -- source when you get. Averaged above average archery so you know that's their formats in the back pocket you know put the receiving in the blocking ability. Is that the base -- that you can or spend a lot of time what may have and that downgrading their armor this'll work and exchange amid all that test flight. But he really -- Omar receiver because it's duke kids are coming out of high school and even college. You know that the stuff they're pretty good attitude. At times it's it's great to -- movement. He -- sliders a little bit crisper than though want to contract school. So it's been AWD's got comfortable into it into a setup where they can handle all the pitches in the strike so. Great drama that circle. It's the opportunity to work with some of my cameo and you know six foot seven lefty who's not who's got stuff that that moves that time. You know -- is that just kind of an instance in which OK you're getting thrown into the deep end to the real test. Yeah it is you know fair that's fair this is whether what they do it. You know it you find real quick because that mentality of people try -- play especially for the ball stretch processed either so. He owes some of these -- may now have their best performances are on the plate that they thought they were born to when they came to the ballpark that day. But little do they know it walk off that fill that mentality is what we see and we know that they're going to be a decision they're going to be just fine back there. Why is that Florida is an important and catchers you mention the fact that he moved all over the fuel -- kind of a little bit Buster Posey is as an amateur you know just in the fact that. He was a guy who played third base or outfielder you know basically you. I'm sure that his high school team probably had him playing up the middle after they wanted to as well why why is that Atlanta is an important behind the plate. What is important at all it is they'll do you know to catching be enabled you know. Outs on all block and a ball being able to regroup and recover if you will after blocks. It's great it's the -- support the short track at a guy like myself. I'm pleasure over I mean these guys are our athletes are horses corporate Q well certainly these guys in its very important. To be able to have those and as a shortstop you know we get -- -- -- got a short our hands but. You know you very seldom do you see people when they present strikes or catch the ball -- salt and how easy I mean this all or that network so that. You'll pitcher wanna throw to you know they don't want to chip they don't want to slow partly these -- -- a bind to a guy. Some energy that athletic that they can trust that they can -- split finger with a runner at third. So is very important. A couple of things stand out you know I'm not I don't have the opportunity to he Blake on a regular basis so I work a lot by just looking at the statistical profile. For me a couple of things stand out from afar. What is the fact that his his caught stealing percentage is gone way up this year. -- -- he had a solid one for a first year pro cut 31% of guys trying to steal on him this year that's all the way up to 43% which I think I'd be leading the Carolina league. -- -- why is that happening what what what are you seeing happen in terms of his development it's permitting that. Well I do know -- reorganization. And -- from law and and Cheryl to Ralph. And -- pitching coaches we've made it Heidi it's very conscious effort. -- Get our pitchers quicker to the point. Com and that that's and that's a big -- and toward you know -- -- the importance -- you know as a pitcher Nolan. Other brother -- with a guy at first base second base so we we have a pound this into the pitchers. And they're open sessions and and then leading so. That's first -- they're -- -- -- he has so well above average arm the F let us citizen that we've talked about this school work. He's he's had to adjust. And the global thing that the what went to start up which that are -- And short matter there's a lot of gaining ground torture target. When playing those positions while throwing. Here we wanna try to be in your feet underneath that and get it off. And he's been able to adapt to that -- just -- that match that's a big reason or -- I mean. Knowing that he is not the losers are straight and shorten up what worked it's been huge for a -- -- the pitchers and making a conscious stripper. Are being quicker to the plate. And it doesn't always let's be quick to put them actually open looks -- -- been huge for all of our -- rubbish which played well. Air a little adjustment -- let them make what is what works you know he's. She and about a trauma. Look at a -- times is seen from Blake at this point. -- it can range or maybe he's not scared to step into the one -- at all oh and he plays probably. -- comfortably in in the low 19. You know. It's a news start to go over 195 beauty from. And -- you know. Maybe Russian and this is just look at a reporter just watch it may do little to ramp up but when he's comfortable he's brought in frustration at he's. In the low ones aren't. And and so just to clarify like 195 -- is would would qualify as Major League average -- we're talking about a guy who consistently. Is that average or above average in terms of his side in terms of bet on the throat and on to second base. -- time. -- And with the other thing that really stands out about Blake to me is the fact that he's already cut sixty games last year he -- 66. You know there's the guy who's now being Entrust with the pretty full size workload. While -- now while playing in -- Salem. Why is that happening what's allowing him. To -- because that that's typical that not bring usually how you guys have approached you know most of the guys coming up through your system they've often had. You know they've -- split time behind the plate at their earliest levels professional development. Why is how is Blake able to what what you're seeing from Blake in taking on this considerable workload at this stage in in why is he a guy who's who is able to withstand it. Well I I. I think it all comes out offseason. Program and what the trainer support restrict has put in for this skit. Being able to live by that swear by they know the organizers are trade -- -- as you note that he received from the David -- industry -- that they follow that program. Plate it is you know there's no issues with the -- of course that he spoke program. He'll -- this body has built to. I would say and dirt whatever needs to be down from the -- I think the all important. In my in my point of -- are in my believes that these guys start getting a bigger workload. -- the earlier level as opposed to later levels and I think. Deal to look her right -- away you know he took the bulk of the catching. Really the first time. And AAA flasher. And that kind of wore on him a little bit so I think we done a good job as the organization of understanding the importance of do we don't want it Juli is definitely wanna make sure we're we're not running him into the ground that there are shown the ability. You know -- know -- GMP -- stay within their mechanics. Let these guys run -- this is quote go to our judgment so. Not for everybody we have you know such guys here make sure that we're we're keeping them afloat but it. You know guys like that This week we're gonna take a look at some of the developments with catchers in the Red Sox minor league system for years and years it seemed as if there was a conversation about. Whether or -- the Red Sox were ever going to be able to develop someone capable. Of shouldering the load after Jason Varitek moved on from his seemingly eternal role as the everyday catcher for the Red Sox. Well. Varitek has moved on at this point to and obviously Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended up being the solution. But beyond Saltalamacchia the red sex now he would agree to a promise throughout their -- leaks as some at that position. In particular this year's been impressive for the standout performances. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- As well as Christian Vazquez and double they're putting together two seasons there really do potentially suggest. Futures is as perhaps every day mutually catchers. We'll talk with Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson about the state of catching in the Red Sox come but first we'll check in with white -- down in Salem. Why -- relatively new to -- you only picked it up in high school. In the last year represented. Really his first extensive exposure to the position. So it's worth asking how different is it to be of a second year pro catcher as opposed to having had that first exposure. To the everyday roles and responsibilities of doing so last -- Greenville. You know it's a lot different my first you know I didn't know what to expect but you know her -- And -- -- -- this year I knew what I news do Ari do you audit ready player. Keep the play corner or if you gain -- army -- in place here and I'm a bit -- a lot more apparent I was first here. What was the most difficult to what was the biggest challenge that you face in that first year because you know I have to think it. You know from from the simple standpoint of how different professional stuff is going to be across the rotation. Theater probably seeing working with a lot of different bit this has brought a lot of a lot of first time things that you're experiencing. As a catcher in your career when you're in Greenville after having been drafted out of high school. Yes that would mean -- alert out of you catcher had never looked up or slide. Learn how to call pitches work situation where. Where to reach sleep all that so. I mean I'm just trying to perfect and now I can only -- and every day. As much of a challenge as it was that first -- where there -- birdie any because you're athletic enough to play a lot of different positions right. That was one of the things that got talked about there were some people. Who wondered are the Red Sox going to develop like as a catcher. Because that might slow down a development -- could have hit it as another position. Was there ever a point in Greenville last year or for that matter -- in Salem this year. Where Utah where you thought band I did not know what I was signing up four point when I jumped into the idea of being a professional catcher. No not at all army. Reportorial. -- to trapped in the catcher I believe. You know it's actually see it that naturally. The next problem at work are there. And they change partners which is our position right now people are. You started catching in high school that was something that you made a conscious decision I mean you sought out training I believe the Albuquerque baseball academy. I'm in order to in order to develop that skill why. Yes I did I. Why some former senior year. What -- so uncle facilities there and work out by catcher. I think my dad died Friday or or darker baseball -- -- work -- owner in the dodgers' organization and it is scheduled to learn learn from and then do what's record due to recruit there or you know -- -- -- -- -- -- at third base. -- architect like to regain sector. Here. Did you find it to be it was it was it a kind of a match for you -- your skill at the baseball player or for your personality -- for both. I think it's provoked. Me. I think complaining apparently utility guy and I think I. I think my personality of -- Are hoping that everybody being willing are they are gorgeous in their yards so you know your leader a finger -- is it different. In that first year in that first professional year that you had in Greenville what was the one area that most challenging you know you said it -- generally learning you know learning to be a catcher. It in in its entirety but was there one thing that was just punishing -- you know just like. Blocking drills were on a date that you quote -- have off they're beating the snot out of you with balls in the dirt that sort of thing. -- Well -- said they -- -- troubles they got to learn. Was reading that it's like yes -- are also. Being able to where we're both worked out for a second day. I mean if -- perfect but we're not exactly you're Brokaw users or I left right arm you know -- -- As well. It's been my biggest improvement I'd say is we'll work force that -- Then coming back in the spring training this year you know the one of the good things about player development -- mechanical things is that a lot of times. You get to advance with guys who you've worked with before. How different was it for instance catching guy like Henry Owens. The viewers you know obviously we've basically been connected with I think you both were on teen USA together when you're in high schools that correct. So you know you've obviously had had a longstanding history how different is it for you catching Henry Owens now than it was a year ago. I mean. If you ask -- yourself heating value of any situation now. Runner on base whatever I know exactly what they want apparently want to throw. Like Ali lit up that dummy site down their justice PNC. Dispute in the Czech the hitters had a little bit. Eight it says it's pretty amazing -- I can pick up what he wants when he wanted the big difference from. Look at -- and AFLAC all American game. I mean it's just -- informed -- that UK history teacher -- street rhetoric or. One of the things that did it has struck me is that when we you and I talked -- the last time that we talked was just sometime in the middle of spring training. Entering last entering the 2012 season. And at that point you said you know what I've never really had a home on the baseball field because if if memory serves replica is allowed to move all over the place. How different is it just going through. A season going through basically your professional baseball life. With everything being you know with with that kind of security with that knowledge that every day you're showing up. Whenever you're going to be in the lineup it's going to be as a catcher. -- -- -- I mean it's it's like -- -- what you gonna do what are your play well I mean I just like you're on the new planets is the Specter so. I mean just blow in the air knowing your catcher in the east China UW lead on you've got to be the coach -- pretty much. I think the best per person learn from assert that whatever -- orchestrated -- -- and and -- just -- like I mean I got atmosphere. Was this spirit that anybody there. How much interaction have you had with Varitek to point. Talking silent spring training and it came out the Salem couple weeks ago its first series in our park everyday about. He gave -- How helpful is it to have a guy like Ameritech grieving like a Chad Epperson Europe. That they're catching coordinator in the Red Sox system. Who would not only guys -- were catcher has professionally but also switch hitting catchers who kind of understand the workload the different elements that you're managing. Also for being there to support -- whatever works in her. I need something answered -- -- all -- -- text -- and well me out after being. Right there. Comedy called republic. Once -- week. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Talking with Red Sox catching prospect Blake's wife heart. This year you've been able to play a lot more than you did last year I think you're almost at the same number of games played at this stage of the season that you played. All of last year as as a catcher behind plate. How different is that how how intense is the workload. Or do you not feeling yet physically. Off on a little guilty yeah -- feel. I mean like Islam better this year I'll actually happened was working on both our first years ago they -- Wear down her purse here that -- -- gains. Just keep experience while that this year. They in -- muscles are little I'm on what you know. These cardinals we gains in because of that acting like a morning group really gain more control of the game just like. From just idiots that are out of -- our morning group there. I I was going to ask to what degree is it is -- offense different this year toward degrees your routine to the you know kind of different this year than it was a year ago in terms of being able to manage. You know. Getting ready to hit right -- getting ready you had like -- left handed catching. And to in what have you -- about where you are as a hitter this year vs a year ago. -- Sadler in Cutler had a these are my approach actual ball close -- without. The other what they -- these -- topics you know. And now I had to learn I had to learn arrow to get approach Cutler. In. All that so I mean I've improved a lot there in my approach is -- my -- election is a lot better. There is a big improvement but I keep. With regard to -- with regards to your your season -- professional development. And how closely has has what happened in your in your professional career aligned with your expectations of what signing in turning pro is going to be like. In law I had a lot of help now treaty on Saturday night at east lake yeah that's a big old eight bit or what to expect a lot of -- It's apparently or by Brad inexperienced retreating well. I don't -- or Oprah or so before the fact that they were willing to talk. Talking only be realistic about -- -- -- all the liquid or wherever. It's what it's like the ark -- it's a lot longer term. Any you know you were you were obviously a huge University of Texas. In -- -- -- even before you were a commit -- you know even before you -- you had committed to wanted to get to play a scholarship there. Have you ever had any moment of like in the middle of the whatever ten now her bus -- saying. Mean that would have been kind of way to go to school. I never I mean you can't look back evening out or -- is certainly liked this. They're little like in this bill we. -- I never thought I'd never looked back on I. They'd rather make the most of it because our look back -- let -- -- -- -- -- fireworks are called upon -- -- level. Global all I have to go through anyway. -- you would probably have to. Go ahead I'm sorry. Yeah. Yeah it really is interesting because. As the the phenomenon of catching like has a different development path oftentimes so that even a guy who's -- a pretty advanced you know catcher coming out of college. May still have to sort out its single they -- is that another position. You may have to start at Heidi you may you may have the opportunities are high like Jackie Bradley did last -- something. It of it is it is also interest and revisit that though I realized they don't look back but you would've been draft eligible after this season Texas correct. Yes I will be an alternate structural -- Right so you know so -- saw you kind of have that opportunity like take stock of where you are in your career. Which is obviously you know playing at a pretty advanced level -- -- high EA and say you know this is. And here's where I am vs having been at Texas and kind of getting ready for the draft and it stresses. Yes that Miami. Like a man Irvin. We know we don't have experience now nominee what approach. Why maturity according -- Where are what are the areas of your game at this point where you're hoping to see the most progress going forward. I mean honestly everywhere know that -- everybody that what I can improve everywhere any catching. It will actually blocking balls don't eat up every -- -- -- and so -- partisan who -- here. That's a much better universal response then those have been Tim if ever when responded nowhere I'm fine with where I am. One thing that does that is interesting to me I know fit in in Albuquerque in high school you know you had a reputation as being a guy. Who who hit with a fair amount of power. In he's in Salem is a tough hitting environment and the Carolina league to be tough home run hitting environment. And you -- that's the same time you're average has been excellent to hear -- on base has been excellent -- here. You've got you know you've got two homers at this point here is that something that you care about. I mean. Really no ego and his -- dropped. Are pretty impressive scene there like OK they thought about it let the fight already able it -- isn't it publicly what it's all. I doubt about it. Because of where we play. The way to market the balls are there so I'm not to worry about it -- So at this stage you know are you starting to our -- now that you kind of have developed routines now that you started to kind of understand. You know understand. How to improve your game and also. You know the direction that you wanna take your game does that start to make the idea of moving up the player development matter more realistic. That's me and everyone else so I just had to be able to do what I do when he's been there and I -- And accurately. You know I hope it -- I don't know. At this point is there anyone -- game whose whose game you you would you model your own after or who you would like to kind of resemble as a player. Honestly though I mean. All -- or anything they're awful but nobody. Dug out there -- around my experience actually almost lower so what will that they've never gave up four I don't. I honestly don't know enough yet -- -- actors you know look fort. -- -- -- how to act like what how they're -- is developing and I'd rather. Do my coaches omitted doing and learn to be like myself. What an interesting thing that you know at this young part of your professional for your party had an opportunity get feedback from Varitek you've already had an opportunity to have. The guy like you know a guy like -- you know put eyes on him. -- -- -- One of school she yielding just one day we hear from the -- over that you'd better. Just be clear here which -- are we talking about -- touched his current pudge Rodriguez. Yeah that's a good one man well I guess they're both pretty good ones and their own right no doubt. To me it's always so it it there really isn't -- -- to think about how development works with catchers because. You know you'll almost have to be. A community unto your cells can mean is is that notion reinforced. In spring training you know do you guys. Another third always been a tradition of you know of bear attack in some in the other Major League catcher is taking out basically every catcher in the organization. Is there's still that kind of that dynamic that -- you know group amongst themselves. Oh definitely I mean I can sort of partially Blair. While my back will lower my brother I mean you're. Optics is very old Ahmad at page in I don't live on the block it and look like they're there but I doubt on under an -- The last is -- and help each other -- You're named an all -- this year -- in for the Carolina league California League all star game how much does that mean to you. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Thanks very much for joining Blake really appreciated it -- You've now heard from Blake's wife -- who may well be the Red Sox highest ceiling catching prospect. But he's not alone in having a terrific 2013 campaigned as someone behind the plate. There are other in the system who are all are having standout years in various pass of the game. -- you'd be hard pressed to find a person more eager to talk about some of those performances the Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson. Personal works closely with all the -- throughout the minor league system in hopes of helping them. It against their games and he's seen a considerable amount of progress over the course of this season. Would discuss a few different catchers. But first and why heart was someone who represented something of a project or -- player with a considerable amount of development work in front of him. When he signed with the Red Sox after being taken in the first round of the 2011 draft. Will start there what has had a person seen in terms of why -- step forward in the 2013 season. He was more in our scouts were were dead unless I mean obviously what you just mentioned there's limited time on the plate as high school. You know career too -- it just -- they have let -- -- as. Don't you made a point to me that he only caught a couple games and those are against teams. Is coached. Teams were running and actually put my on the plate the other tries to put shorter so are added so that was very limited time -- play. But our scouts do and it's -- not. To say this kicking get it immediately know is that well as citizens -- this kid has all church make up. Though there was no doubt that money got him what he came here -- they were that army you'd be taken through this. -- program the Red Sox cap -- that tell -- he's he's adapted to a well. And -- it's almost with -- why argue that this say OK listen. -- you saw him point eight -- -- and he wanted to move part of national and that's how what was this cute or so. Still kudos to those guys -- mean they were right dollars what destruction of -- we all knew we could swing the bat handle it. And he's just he's done a great job and what a great -- make a plot to charge them in this guy's always. Bringing that consistent demeanor and approach to the park daily. The trust is routines I mean as is routine and eighty's he's reaping the benefits from now. Touching such a highly technical undertaking you know there are so many areas for for refinement and and improvement that are just you know so difficult to appreciate you. You know to those were unfamiliar with it where would you where would you identify the areas where granted technical areas for Blake has gotten better since he got hands on. Well is receiving obviously it's a the biggest thing -- source when you get. Averaged above average archery so you know that's their formats in the back pocket you know put the receiving in the blocking ability. Is that the base -- that you can or spend a lot of time what may have and that downgrading their armor this'll work and exchange amid all that test flight. But he really -- Omar receiver because it's duke kids are coming out of high school and even college. You know that the stuff they're pretty good attitude. At times it's it's great to -- movement. He -- sliders a little bit crisper than though want to contract school. So it's been AWD's got comfortable into it into a setup where they can handle all the pitches in the strike so. Great drama that circle. It's the opportunity to work with some of my cameo and you know six foot seven lefty who's not who's got stuff that that moves that time. You know -- is that just kind of an instance in which OK you're getting thrown into the deep end to the real test. Yeah it is you know fair that's fair this is whether what they do it. You know it you find real quick because that mentality of people try -- play especially for the ball stretch processed either so. He owes some of these -- may now have their best performances are on the plate that they thought they were born to when they came to the ballpark that day. But little do they know it walk off that fill that mentality is what we see and we know that they're going to be a decision they're going to be just fine back there. Why is that Florida is an important and catchers you mention the fact that he moved all over the fuel -- kind of a little bit Buster Posey is as an amateur you know just in the fact that. He was a guy who played third base or outfielder you know basically you. I'm sure that his high school team probably had him playing up the middle after they wanted to as well why why is that Atlanta is an important behind the plate. What is important at all it is they'll do you know to catching be enabled you know. Outs on all block and a ball being able to regroup and recover if you will after blocks. It's great it's the -- support the short track at a guy like myself. I'm pleasure over I mean these guys are our athletes are horses corporate Q well certainly these guys in its very important. To be able to have those and as a shortstop you know we get -- -- -- got a short our hands but. You know you very seldom do you see people when they present strikes or catch the ball -- salt and how easy I mean this all or that network so that. You'll pitcher wanna throw to you know they don't want to chip they don't want to slow partly these -- -- a bind to a guy. Some energy that athletic that they can trust that they can -- split finger with a runner at third. So is very important. A couple of things stand out you know I'm not I don't have the opportunity to he Blake on a regular basis so I work a lot by just looking at the statistical profile. For me a couple of things stand out from afar. What is the fact that his his caught stealing percentage is gone way up this year. -- -- he had a solid one for a first year pro cut 31% of guys trying to steal on him this year that's all the way up to 43% which I think I'd be leading the Carolina league. -- -- why is that happening what what what are you seeing happen in terms of his development it's permitting that. Well I do know -- reorganization. And -- from law and and Cheryl to Ralph. And -- pitching coaches we've made it Heidi it's very conscious effort. -- Get our pitchers quicker to the point. Com and that that's and that's a big -- and toward you know -- -- the importance -- you know as a pitcher Nolan. Other brother -- with a guy at first base second base so we we have a pound this into the pitchers. And they're open sessions and and then leading so. That's first -- they're -- -- -- he has so well above average arm the F let us citizen that we've talked about this school work. He's he's had to adjust. And the global thing that the what went to start up which that are -- And short matter there's a lot of gaining ground torture target. When playing those positions while throwing. Here we wanna try to be in your feet underneath that and get it off. And he's been able to adapt to that -- just -- that match that's a big reason or -- I mean. Knowing that he is not the losers are straight and shorten up what worked it's been huge for a -- -- the pitchers and making a conscious stripper. Are being quicker to the plate. And it doesn't always let's be quick to put them actually open looks -- -- been huge for all of our -- rubbish which played well. Air a little adjustment -- let them make what is what works you know he's. She and about a trauma. Look at a -- times is seen from Blake at this point. -- it can range or maybe he's not scared to step into the one -- at all oh and he plays probably. -- comfortably in in the low 19. You know. It's a news start to go over 195 beauty from. And -- you know. Maybe Russian and this is just look at a reporter just watch it may do little to ramp up but when he's comfortable he's brought in frustration at he's. In the low ones aren't. And and so just to clarify like 195 -- is would would qualify as Major League average -- we're talking about a guy who consistently. Is that average or above average in terms of his side in terms of bet on the throat and on to second base. -- time. -- And with the other thing that really stands out about Blake to me is the fact that he's already cut sixty games last year he -- 66. You know there's the guy who's now being Entrust with the pretty full size workload. While -- now while playing in -- Salem. Why is that happening what's allowing him. To -- because that that's typical that not bring usually how you guys have approached you know most of the guys coming up through your system they've often had. You know they've -- split time behind the plate at their earliest levels professional development. Why is how is Blake able to what what you're seeing from Blake in taking on this considerable workload at this stage in in why is he a guy who's who is able to withstand it. Well I I. I think it all comes out offseason. Program and what the trainer support restrict has put in for this skit. Being able to live by that swear by they know the organizers are trade -- -- as you note that he received from the David -- industry -- that they follow that program. Plate it is you know there's no issues with the -- of course that he spoke program. He'll -- this body has built to. I would say and dirt whatever needs to be down from the -- I think the all important. In my in my point of -- are in my believes that these guys start getting a bigger workload. -- the earlier level as opposed to later levels and I think. Deal to look her right -- away you know he took the bulk of the catching. Really the first time. And AAA flasher. And that kind of wore on him a little bit so I think we done a good job as the organization of understanding the importance of do we don't want it Juli is definitely wanna make sure we're we're not running him into the ground that there are shown the ability. You know -- know -- GMP -- stay within their mechanics. Let these guys run -- this is quote go to our judgment so. Not for everybody we have you know such guys here make sure that we're we're keeping them afloat but it. You know guys like that This week we're gonna take a look at some of the developments with catchers in the Red Sox minor league system for years and years it seemed as if there was a conversation about. Whether or -- the Red Sox were ever going to be able to develop someone capable. Of shouldering the load after Jason Varitek moved on from his seemingly eternal role as the everyday catcher for the Red Sox. Well. Varitek has moved on at this point to and obviously Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended up being the solution. But beyond Saltalamacchia the red sex now he would agree to a promise throughout their -- leaks as some at that position. In particular this year's been impressive for the standout performances. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- As well as Christian Vazquez and double they're putting together two seasons there really do potentially suggest. Futures is as perhaps every day mutually catchers. We'll talk with Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson about the state of catching in the Red Sox come but first we'll check in with white -- down in Salem. Why -- relatively new to -- you only picked it up in high school. In the last year represented. Really his first extensive exposure to the position. So it's worth asking how different is it to be of a second year pro catcher as opposed to having had that first exposure. To the everyday roles and responsibilities of doing so last -- Greenville. You know it's a lot different my first you know I didn't know what to expect but you know her -- And -- -- -- this year I knew what I news do Ari do you audit ready player. Keep the play corner or if you gain -- army -- in place here and I'm a bit -- a lot more apparent I was first here. What was the most difficult to what was the biggest challenge that you face in that first year because you know I have to think it. You know from from the simple standpoint of how different professional stuff is going to be across the rotation. Theater probably seeing working with a lot of different bit this has brought a lot of a lot of first time things that you're experiencing. As a catcher in your career when you're in Greenville after having been drafted out of high school. Yes that would mean -- alert out of you catcher had never looked up or slide. Learn how to call pitches work situation where. Where to reach sleep all that so. I mean I'm just trying to perfect and now I can only -- and every day. As much of a challenge as it was that first -- where there -- birdie any because you're athletic enough to play a lot of different positions right. That was one of the things that got talked about there were some people. Who wondered are the Red Sox going to develop like as a catcher. Because that might slow down a development -- could have hit it as another position. Was there ever a point in Greenville last year or for that matter -- in Salem this year. Where Utah where you thought band I did not know what I was signing up four point when I jumped into the idea of being a professional catcher. No not at all army. Reportorial. -- to trapped in the catcher I believe. You know it's actually see it that naturally. The next problem at work are there. And they change partners which is our position right now people are. You started catching in high school that was something that you made a conscious decision I mean you sought out training I believe the Albuquerque baseball academy. I'm in order to in order to develop that skill why. Yes I did I. Why some former senior year. What -- so uncle facilities there and work out by catcher. I think my dad died Friday or or darker baseball -- -- work -- owner in the dodgers' organization and it is scheduled to learn learn from and then do what's record due to recruit there or you know -- -- -- -- -- -- at third base. -- architect like to regain sector. Here. Did you find it to be it was it was it a kind of a match for you -- your skill at the baseball player or for your personality -- for both. I think it's provoked. Me. I think complaining apparently utility guy and I think I. I think my personality of -- Are hoping that everybody being willing are they are gorgeous in their yards so you know your leader a finger -- is it different. In that first year in that first professional year that you had in Greenville what was the one area that most challenging you know you said it -- generally learning you know learning to be a catcher. It in in its entirety but was there one thing that was just punishing -- you know just like. Blocking drills were on a date that you quote -- have off they're beating the snot out of you with balls in the dirt that sort of thing. -- Well -- said they -- -- troubles they got to learn. Was reading that it's like yes -- are also. Being able to where we're both worked out for a second day. I mean if -- perfect but we're not exactly you're Brokaw users or I left right arm you know -- -- As well. It's been my biggest improvement I'd say is we'll work force that -- Then coming back in the spring training this year you know the one of the good things about player development -- mechanical things is that a lot of times. You get to advance with guys who you've worked with before. How different was it for instance catching guy like Henry Owens. The viewers you know obviously we've basically been connected with I think you both were on teen USA together when you're in high schools that correct. So you know you've obviously had had a longstanding history how different is it for you catching Henry Owens now than it was a year ago. I mean. If you ask -- yourself heating value of any situation now. Runner on base whatever I know exactly what they want apparently want to throw. Like Ali lit up that dummy site down their justice PNC. Dispute in the Czech the hitters had a little bit. Eight it says it's pretty amazing -- I can pick up what he wants when he wanted the big difference from. Look at -- and AFLAC all American game. I mean it's just -- informed -- that UK history teacher -- street rhetoric or. One of the things that did it has struck me is that when we you and I talked -- the last time that we talked was just sometime in the middle of spring training. Entering last entering the 2012 season. And at that point you said you know what I've never really had a home on the baseball field because if if memory serves replica is allowed to move all over the place. How different is it just going through. A season going through basically your professional baseball life. With everything being you know with with that kind of security with that knowledge that every day you're showing up. Whenever you're going to be in the lineup it's going to be as a catcher. -- -- -- I mean it's it's like -- -- what you gonna do what are your play well I mean I just like you're on the new planets is the Specter so. I mean just blow in the air knowing your catcher in the east China UW lead on you've got to be the coach -- pretty much. I think the best per person learn from assert that whatever -- orchestrated -- -- and and -- just -- like I mean I got atmosphere. Was this spirit that anybody there. How much interaction have you had with Varitek to point. Talking silent spring training and it came out the Salem couple weeks ago its first series in our park everyday about. He gave -- How helpful is it to have a guy like Ameritech grieving like a Chad Epperson Europe. That they're catching coordinator in the Red Sox system. Who would not only guys -- were catcher has professionally but also switch hitting catchers who kind of understand the workload the different elements that you're managing. Also for being there to support -- whatever works in her. I need something answered -- -- all -- -- text -- and well me out after being. Right there. Comedy called republic. Once -- week. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Talking with Red Sox catching prospect Blake's wife heart. This year you've been able to play a lot more than you did last year I think you're almost at the same number of games played at this stage of the season that you played. All of last year as as a catcher behind plate. How different is that how how intense is the workload. Or do you not feeling yet physically. Off on a little guilty yeah -- feel. I mean like Islam better this year I'll actually happened was working on both our first years ago they -- Wear down her purse here that -- -- gains. Just keep experience while that this year. They in -- muscles are little I'm on what you know. These cardinals we gains in because of that acting like a morning group really gain more control of the game just like. From just idiots that are out of -- our morning group there. I I was going to ask to what degree is it is -- offense different this year toward degrees your routine to the you know kind of different this year than it was a year ago in terms of being able to manage. You know. Getting ready to hit right -- getting ready you had like -- left handed catching. And to in what have you -- about where you are as a hitter this year vs a year ago. -- Sadler in Cutler had a these are my approach actual ball close -- without. The other what they -- these -- topics you know. And now I had to learn I had to learn arrow to get approach Cutler. In. All that so I mean I've improved a lot there in my approach is -- my -- election is a lot better. There is a big improvement but I keep. With regard to -- with regards to your your season -- professional development. And how closely has has what happened in your in your professional career aligned with your expectations of what signing in turning pro is going to be like. In law I had a lot of help now treaty on Saturday night at east lake yeah that's a big old eight bit or what to expect a lot of -- It's apparently or by Brad inexperienced retreating well. I don't -- or Oprah or so before the fact that they were willing to talk. Talking only be realistic about -- -- -- all the liquid or wherever. It's what it's like the ark -- it's a lot longer term. Any you know you were you were obviously a huge University of Texas. In -- -- -- even before you were a commit -- you know even before you -- you had committed to wanted to get to play a scholarship there. Have you ever had any moment of like in the middle of the whatever ten now her bus -- saying. Mean that would have been kind of way to go to school. I never I mean you can't look back evening out or -- is certainly liked this. They're little like in this bill we. -- I never thought I'd never looked back on I. They'd rather make the most of it because our look back -- let -- -- -- -- -- fireworks are called upon -- -- level. Global all I have to go through anyway. -- you would probably have to. Go ahead I'm sorry. Yeah. Yeah it really is interesting because. As the the phenomenon of catching like has a different development path oftentimes so that even a guy who's -- a pretty advanced you know catcher coming out of college. May still have to sort out its single they -- is that another position. You may have to start at Heidi you may you may have the opportunities are high like Jackie Bradley did last -- something. It of it is it is also interest and revisit that though I realized they don't look back but you would've been draft eligible after this season Texas correct. Yes I will be an alternate structural -- Right so you know so -- saw you kind of have that opportunity like take stock of where you are in your career. Which is obviously you know playing at a pretty advanced level -- -- high EA and say you know this is. And here's where I am vs having been at Texas and kind of getting ready for the draft and it stresses. Yes that Miami. Like a man Irvin. We know we don't have experience now nominee what approach. Why maturity according -- Where are what are the areas of your game at this point where you're hoping to see the most progress going forward. I mean honestly everywhere know that -- everybody that what I can improve everywhere any catching. It will actually blocking balls don't eat up every -- -- -- and so -- partisan who -- here. That's a much better universal response then those have been Tim if ever when responded nowhere I'm fine with where I am. One thing that does that is interesting to me I know fit in in Albuquerque in high school you know you had a reputation as being a guy. Who who hit with a fair amount of power. In he's in Salem is a tough hitting environment and the Carolina league to be tough home run hitting environment. And you -- that's the same time you're average has been excellent to hear -- on base has been excellent -- here. You've got you know you've got two homers at this point here is that something that you care about. I mean. Really no ego and his -- dropped. Are pretty impressive scene there like OK they thought about it let the fight already able it -- isn't it publicly what it's all. I doubt about it. Because of where we play. The way to market the balls are there so I'm not to worry about it -- So at this stage you know are you starting to our -- now that you kind of have developed routines now that you started to kind of understand. You know understand. How to improve your game and also. You know the direction that you wanna take your game does that start to make the idea of moving up the player development matter more realistic. That's me and everyone else so I just had to be able to do what I do when he's been there and I -- And accurately. You know I hope it -- I don't know. At this point is there anyone -- game whose whose game you you would you model your own after or who you would like to kind of resemble as a player. Honestly though I mean. All -- or anything they're awful but nobody. Dug out there -- around my experience actually almost lower so what will that they've never gave up four I don't. I honestly don't know enough yet -- -- actors you know look fort. -- -- -- how to act like what how they're -- is developing and I'd rather. Do my coaches omitted doing and learn to be like myself. What an interesting thing that you know at this young part of your professional for your party had an opportunity get feedback from Varitek you've already had an opportunity to have. The guy like you know a guy like -- you know put eyes on him. -- -- -- One of school she yielding just one day we hear from the -- over that you'd better. Just be clear here which -- are we talking about -- touched his current pudge Rodriguez. Yeah that's a good one man well I guess they're both pretty good ones and their own right no doubt. To me it's always so it it there really isn't -- -- to think about how development works with catchers because. You know you'll almost have to be. A community unto your cells can mean is is that notion reinforced. In spring training you know do you guys. Another third always been a tradition of you know of bear attack in some in the other Major League catcher is taking out basically every catcher in the organization. Is there's still that kind of that dynamic that -- you know group amongst themselves. Oh definitely I mean I can sort of partially Blair. While my back will lower my brother I mean you're. Optics is very old Ahmad at page in I don't live on the block it and look like they're there but I doubt on under an -- The last is -- and help each other -- You're named an all -- this year -- in for the Carolina league California League all star game how much does that mean to you. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Thanks very much for joining Blake really appreciated it -- You've now heard from Blake's wife -- who may well be the Red Sox highest ceiling catching prospect. But he's not alone in having a terrific 2013 campaigned as someone behind the plate. There are other in the system who are all are having standout years in various pass of the game. -- you'd be hard pressed to find a person more eager to talk about some of those performances the Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson. Personal works closely with all the -- throughout the minor league system in hopes of helping them. It against their games and he's seen a considerable amount of progress over the course of this season. Would discuss a few different catchers. But first and why heart was someone who represented something of a project or -- player with a considerable amount of development work in front of him. When he signed with the Red Sox after being taken in the first round of the 2011 draft. Will start there what has had a person seen in terms of why -- step forward in the 2013 season. He was more in our scouts were were dead unless I mean obviously what you just mentioned there's limited time on the plate as high school. You know career too -- it just -- they have let -- -- as. Don't you made a point to me that he only caught a couple games and those are against teams. Is coached. Teams were running and actually put my on the plate the other tries to put shorter so are added so that was very limited time -- play. But our scouts do and it's -- not. To say this kicking get it immediately know is that well as citizens -- this kid has all church make up. Though there was no doubt that money got him what he came here -- they were that army you'd be taken through this. -- program the Red Sox cap -- that tell -- he's he's adapted to a well. And -- it's almost with -- why argue that this say OK listen. -- you saw him point eight -- -- and he wanted to move part of national and that's how what was this cute or so. Still kudos to those guys -- mean they were right dollars what destruction of -- we all knew we could swing the bat handle it. And he's just he's done a great job and what a great -- make a plot to charge them in this guy's always. Bringing that consistent demeanor and approach to the park daily. The trust is routines I mean as is routine and eighty's he's reaping the benefits from now. Touching such a highly technical undertaking you know there are so many areas for for refinement and and improvement that are just you know so difficult to appreciate you. You know to those were unfamiliar with it where would you where would you identify the areas where granted technical areas for Blake has gotten better since he got hands on. Well is receiving obviously it's a the biggest thing -- source when you get. Averaged above average archery so you know that's their formats in the back pocket you know put the receiving in the blocking ability. Is that the base -- that you can or spend a lot of time what may have and that downgrading their armor this'll work and exchange amid all that test flight. But he really -- Omar receiver because it's duke kids are coming out of high school and even college. You know that the stuff they're pretty good attitude. At times it's it's great to -- movement. He -- sliders a little bit crisper than though want to contract school. So it's been AWD's got comfortable into it into a setup where they can handle all the pitches in the strike so. Great drama that circle. It's the opportunity to work with some of my cameo and you know six foot seven lefty who's not who's got stuff that that moves that time. You know -- is that just kind of an a conversation about. Whether or -- the Red Sox were ever going to be able to develop someone capable. Of shouldering the load after Jason Varitek moved on from his seemingly eternal role as the everyday catcher for the Red Sox. Well. Varitek has moved on at this point to and obviously Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended up being the solution. But beyond Saltalamacchia the red sex now he would agree to a promise throughout their -- leaks as some at that position. In particular this year's been impressive for the standout performances. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- As well as Christian Vazquez and double they're putting together two seasons there really do potentially suggest. Futures is as perhaps every day mutually catchers. We'll talk with Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson about the state of catching in the Red Sox come but first we'll check in with white -- down in Salem. Why -- relatively new to -- you only picked it up in high school. In the last year represented. Really his first extensive exposure to the position. So it's worth asking how different is it to be of a second year pro catcher as opposed to having had that first exposure. To the everyday roles and responsibilities of doing so last -- Greenville. You know it's a lot different my first you know I didn't know what to expect but you know her -- And -- -- -- this year I knew what I news do Ari do you audit ready player. Keep the play corner or if you gain -- army -- in place here and I'm a bit -- a lot more apparent I was first here. What was the most difficult to what was the biggest challenge that you face in that first year because you know I have to think it. You know from from the simple standpoint of how different professional stuff is going to be across the rotation. Theater probably seeing working with a lot of different bit this has brought a lot of a lot of first time things that you're experiencing. As a catcher in your career when you're in Greenville after having been drafted out of high school. Yes that would mean -- alert out of you catcher had never looked up or slide. Learn how to call pitches work situation where. Where to reach sleep all that so. I mean I'm just trying to perfect and now I can only -- and every day. As much of a challenge as it was that first -- where there -- birdie any because you're athletic enough to play a lot of different positions right. That was one of the things that got talked about there were some people. Who wondered are the Red Sox going to develop like as a catcher. Because that might slow down a development -- could have hit it as another position. Was there ever a point in Greenville last year or for that matter -- in Salem this year. Where Utah where you thought band I did not know what I was signing up four point when I jumped into the idea of being a professional catcher. No not at all army. Reportorial. -- to trapped in the catcher I believe. You know it's actually see it that naturally. The next problem at work are there. And they change partners which is our position right now people are. You started catching in high school that was something that you made a conscious decision I mean you sought out training I believe the Albuquerque baseball academy. I'm in order to in order to develop that skill why. Yes I did I. Why some former senior year. What -- so uncle facilities there and work out by catcher. I think my dad died Friday or or darker baseball -- -- work -- owner in the dodgers' organization and it is scheduled to learn learn from and then do what's record due to recruit there or you know -- -- -- -- -- -- at third base. -- architect like to regain sector. Here. Did you find it to be it was it was it a kind of a match for you -- your skill at the baseball player or for your personality -- for both. I think it's provoked. Me. I think complaining apparently utility guy and I think I. I think my personality of -- Are hoping that everybody being willing are they are gorgeous in their yards so you know your leader a finger -- is it different. In that first year in that first professional year that you had in Greenville what was the one area that most challenging you know you said it -- generally learning you know learning to be a catcher. It in in its entirety but was there one thing that was just punishing -- you know just like. Blocking drills were on a date that you quote -- have off they're beating the snot out of you with balls in the dirt that sort of thing. -- Well -- said they -- -- troubles they got to learn. Was reading that it's like yes -- are also. Being able to where we're both worked out for a second day. I mean if -- perfect but we're not exactly you're Brokaw users or I left right arm you know -- -- As well. It's been my biggest improvement I'd say is we'll work force that -- Then coming back in the spring training this year you know the one of the good things about player development -- mechanical things is that a lot of times. You get to advance with guys who you've worked with before. How different was it for instance catching guy like Henry Owens. The viewers you know obviously we've basically been connected with I think you both were on teen USA together when you're in high schools that correct. So you know you've obviously had had a longstanding history how different is it for you catching Henry Owens now than it was a year ago. I mean. If you ask -- yourself heating value of any situation now. Runner on base whatever I know exactly what they want apparently want to throw. Like Ali lit up that dummy site down their justice PNC. Dispute in the Czech the hitters had a little bit. Eight it says it's pretty amazing -- I can pick up what he wants when he wanted the big difference from. Look at -- and AFLAC all American game. I mean it's just -- informed -- that UK history teacher -- street rhetoric or. One of the things that did it has struck me is that when we you and I talked -- the last time that we talked was just sometime in the middle of spring training. Entering last entering the 2012 season. And at that point you said you know what I've never really had a home on the baseball field because if if memory serves replica is allowed to move all over the place. How different is it just going through. A season going through basically your professional baseball life. With everything being you know with with that kind of security with that knowledge that every day you're showing up. Whenever you're going to be in the lineup it's going to be as a catcher. -- -- -- I mean it's it's like -- -- what you gonna do what are your play well I mean I just like you're on the new planets is the Specter so. I mean just blow in the air knowing your catcher in the east China UW lead on you've got to be the coach -- pretty much. I think the best per person learn from assert that whatever -- orchestrated -- -- and and -- just -- like I mean I got atmosphere. Was this spirit that anybody there. How much interaction have you had with Varitek to point. Talking silent spring training and it came out the Salem couple weeks ago its first series in our park everyday about. He gave -- How helpful is it to have a guy like Ameritech grieving like a Chad Epperson Europe. That they're catching coordinator in the Red Sox system. Who would not only guys -- were catcher has professionally but also switch hitting catchers who kind of understand the workload the different elements that you're managing. Also for being there to support -- whatever works in her. I need something answered -- -- all -- -- text -- and well me out after being. Right there. Comedy called republic. Once -- week. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Talking with Red Sox catching prospect Blake's wife heart. This year you've been able to play a lot more than you did last year I think you're almost at the same number of games played at this stage of the season that you played. All of last year as as a catcher behind plate. How different is that how how intense is the workload. Or do you not feeling yet physically. Off on a little guilty yeah -- feel. I mean like Islam better this year I'll actually happened was working on both our first years ago they -- Wear down her purse here that -- -- gains. Just keep experience while that this year. They in -- muscles are little I'm on what you know. These cardinals we gains in because of that acting like a morning group really gain more control of the game just like. From just idiots that are out of -- our morning group there. I I was going to ask to what degree is it is -- offense different this year toward degrees your routine to the you know kind of different this year than it was a year ago in terms of being able to manage. You know. Getting ready to hit right -- getting ready you had like -- left handed catching. And to in what have you -- about where you are as a hitter this year vs a year ago. -- Sadler in Cutler had a these are my approach actual ball close -- without. The other what they -- these -- topics you know. And now I had to learn I had to learn arrow to get approach Cutler. In. All that so I mean I've improved a lot there in my approach is -- my -- election is a lot better. There is a big improvement but I keep. With regard to -- with regards to your your season -- professional development. And how closely has has what happened in your in your professional career aligned with your expectations of what signing in turning pro is going to be like. In law I had a lot of help now treaty on Saturday night at east lake yeah that's a big old eight bit or what to expect a lot of -- It's apparently or by Brad inexperienced retreating well. I don't -- or Oprah or so before the fact that they were willing to talk. Talking only be realistic about -- -- -- all the liquid or wherever. It's what it's like the ark -- it's a lot longer term. Any you know you were you were obviously a huge University of Texas. In -- -- -- even before you were a commit -- you know even before you -- you had committed to wanted to get to play a scholarship there. Have you ever had any moment of like in the middle of the whatever ten now her bus -- saying. Mean that would have been kind of way to go to school. I never I mean you can't look back evening out or -- is certainly liked this. They're little like in this bill we. -- I never thought I'd never looked back on I. They'd rather make the most of it because our look back -- let -- -- -- -- -- fireworks are called upon -- -- level. Global all I have to go through anyway. -- you would probably have to. Go ahead I'm sorry. Yeah. Yeah it really is interesting because. As the the phenomenon of catching like has a different development path oftentimes so that even a guy who's -- a pretty advanced you know catcher coming out of college. May still have to sort out its single they -- is that another position. You may have to start at Heidi you may you may have the opportunities are high like Jackie Bradley did last -- something. It of it is it is also interest and revisit that though I realized they don't look back but you would've been draft eligible after this season Texas correct. Yes I will be an alternate structural -- Right so you know so -- saw you kind of have that opportunity like take stock of where you are in your career. Which is obviously you know playing at a pretty advanced level -- -- high EA and say you know this is. And here's where I am vs having been at Texas and kind of getting ready for the draft and it stresses. Yes that Miami. Like a man Irvin. We know we don't have experience now nominee what approach. Why maturity according -- Where are what are the areas of your game at this point where you're hoping to see the most progress going forward. I mean honestly everywhere know that -- everybody that what I can improve everywhere any catching. It will actually blocking balls don't eat up every -- -- -- and so -- partisan who -- here. That's a much better universal response then those have been Tim if ever when responded nowhere I'm fine with where I am. One thing that does that is interesting to me I know fit in in Albuquerque in high school you know you had a reputation as being a guy. Who who hit with a fair amount of power. In he's in Salem is a tough hitting environment and the Carolina league to be tough home run hitting environment. And you -- that's the same time you're average has been excellent to hear -- on base has been excellent -- here. You've got you know you've got two homers at this point here is that something that you care about. I mean. Really no ego and his -- dropped. Are pretty impressive scene there like OK they thought about it let the fight already able it -- isn't it publicly what it's all. I doubt about it. Because of where we play. The way to market the balls are there so I'm not to worry about it -- So at this stage you know are you starting to our -- now that you kind of have developed routines now that you started to kind of understand. You know understand. How to improve your game and also. You know the direction that you wanna take your game does that start to make the idea of moving up the player development matter more realistic. That's me and everyone else so I just had to be able to do what I do when he's been there and I -- And accurately. You know I hope it -- I don't know. At this point is there anyone -- game whose whose game you you would you model your own after or who you would like to kind of resemble as a player. Honestly though I mean. All -- or anything they're awful but nobody. Dug out there -- around my experience actually almost lower so what will that they've never gave up four I don't. I honestly don't know enough yet -- -- actors you know look fort. -- -- -- how to act like what how they're -- is developing and I'd rather. Do my coaches omitted doing and learn to be like myself. What an interesting thing that you know at this young part of your professional for your party had an opportunity get feedback from Varitek you've already had an opportunity to have. The guy like you know a guy like -- you know put eyes on him. -- -- -- One of school she yielding just one day we hear from the -- over that you'd better. Just be clear here which -- are we talking about -- touched his current pudge Rodriguez. Yeah that's a good one man well I guess they're both pretty good ones and their own right no doubt. To me it's always so it it there really isn't -- -- to think about how development works with catchers because. You know you'll almost have to be. A community unto your cells can mean is is that notion reinforced. In spring training you know do you guys. Another third always been a tradition of you know of bear attack in some in the other Major League catcher is taking out basically every catcher in the organization. Is there's still that kind of that dynamic that -- you know group amongst themselves. Oh definitely I mean I can sort of partially Blair. While my back will lower my brother I mean you're. Optics is very old Ahmad at page in I don't live on the block it and look like they're there but I doubt on under an -- The last is -- and help each other -- You're named an all -- this year -- in for the Carolina league California League all star game how much does that mean to you. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Thanks very much for joining Blake really appreciated it -- You've now heard from Blake's wife -- who may well be the Red Sox highest ceiling catching prospect. But he's not alone in having a terrific 2013 campaigned as someone behind the plate. There are other in the system who are all are having standout years in various pass of the game. -- you'd be hard pressed to find a person more eager to talk about some of those performances the Red Sox catching coordinator Chad Epperson. Personal works closely with all the -- throughout the minor league system in hopes of helping them. It against their games and he's seen a considerable amount of progress over the course of this season. Would discuss a few different catchers. But first and why heart was someone who represented something of a project or -- player with a considerable amount of development work in front of him. When he signed with the Red Sox after being taken in the first round of the 2011 draft. Will start there what has had a person seen in terms of why -- step forward in the 2013 season. He was more in our scouts were were dead unless I mean obviously what you just mentioned there's limited time on the plate as high school. You know career too -- it just -- they have let -- -- as. Don't you made a point to me that he only caught a couple games and those are against teams. Is coached. Teams were running and actually put my on the plate the other tries to put shorter so are added so that was very limited time -- play. But our scouts do and it's -- not. To say this kicking get it immediately know is that well as citizens -- this kid has all church make up. Though there was no doubt that money got him what he came here -- they were that army you'd be taken through this. -- program the Red Sox cap -- that tell -- he's he's adapted to a well. And -- it's almost with -- why argue that this say OK listen. -- you saw him point eight -- -- and he wanted to move part of national and that's how what was this cute or so. Still kudos to those guys -- mean they were right dollars what destruction of -- we all knew we could swing the bat handle it. And he's just he's done a great job and what a great -- make a plot to charge them in this guy's always. Bringing that consistent demeanor and approach to the park daily. The trust is routines I mean as is routine and eighty's he's reaping the benefits from now. Touching such a highly technical undertaking you know there are so many areas for for refinement and and improvement that are just you know so difficult to appreciate you. You know to those were unfamiliar with it where would you where would you identify the areas where granted technical areas for Blake has gotten better since he got hands on. Well is receiving obviously it's a the biggest thing -- source when you get. Averaged above average archery so you know that's their formats in the back pocket you know put the receiving in the blocking ability. Is that the base -- that you can or spend a lot of time what may have and that downgrading their armor this'll work and exchange amid all that test flight. But he really -- Omar receiver because it's duke kids are coming out of high school and even college. You know that the stuff they're pretty good attitude. At times it's it's great to -- movement. He -- sliders a little bit crisper than though want to contract school. So it's been AWD's got comfortable into it into a setup where they can handle all the pitches in the strike so. Great drama that circle. It's the opportunity to work with some of my cameo and you know six foot seven lefty who's not who's got stuff that that moves that time. You know -- is that just kind of an

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