I’ve got a new man crush and his name is Ryan Kalish.
With the Sox 5.5 games out of first, there is still hope for a postseason in Boston despite a season filled with injuries and frustration. One of the reasons the Sox continue to stay within striking distance of the Yanks and Rays is the way that the replacement players have stepped up. From Bill Hall to Jed Lowrie to Ryan Kalish, who continues to embed himself as the cream of the Red Sox’s crop of prospects.
Kalish has never been seen as the best prospect in the Red Sox system, but all he has done is go out and out perform just about everyone. Ryan Westmoreland aside, for obvious and extremely unfortunate reasons, other Sox prospects have stalled a bit in 2010. Josh Reddick, for the second season in a row, has shown very little plate discipline and only here-and-there power. Casey Kelly, while still very young, didn’t exactly have a great season at Double-A. His 81/35 K/BB ratio is OK, but he allowed 118 hits in 95 innings with a 5.31 ERA and 4.03 FIP. Lars Anderson started out well at double-A, but a 71 plate appearance sample size was too small to consider legit. He’s done next to nothing at Triple-A with a .249 AVG, .340 OBP and only seven home runs in 333 at-bats.
Kalish’s time with the big club this season has been productive and shows that he is not fazed by the pressure of preforming at the game’s biggest stage. Last year, in his age 21 season, Kalish blossomed at double-A (only 32 games at high-A) showing good plate discipline at an advanced level while having a breakthrough in power (18 combined home runs). This season, Kalish didn’t slow down. Between Double- and Triple-A he hit .294/.382/.502 with 18 home runs and 25 stolen bases in only 343 plate appearances. He also held an excellent 42/53 BB/K ratio and a modest .317 BABIP.
He has two home runs in 50 major league at-bats while managing to maintaining a line drive swing.
That swing is another reason why Kalish’s future looks so bright. It’s not complicated. It’s quick. It’s not a swing that is going to generate a ton of power, but that’s a good thing. Kalish has natural power and at age 22, it should only continue to develop. His home runs will come as a natural by-product of his line-drive approach and that line-drive approach should result in some .300 seasons to go along with an above-average OBP. Looks like there should be some .300/20/20 seasons in his future.
How about splits? While he hasn’t hit lefties too well in the big leagues, it’s way too soon to judge him just yet. According to minorleaguesplits.com, Kalish hit .294 with 15 home runs in 435 career minor league at-bats.
On top of all that, Kalish just looks like a kick ass ballplayer.
Oh yeah, and he seems to be more than holding his own in the outfield.
The future is one thing, but the Red Sox are going to need players like Hall and Kalish to come up big down the stretch. Given what we have seen out of the 22-year-old, he has every chance to do just that. If he doesn’t, it won’t be because of a lack of mental approach or lack of skill, it would be due to his youth and inexperience. Youth, however, is one of his most appealing features.