On September 1st, with the expansion of major league rosters from 25 to 40 players, many minor leaguers get the call to the big leagues. Some for teams in contention that use the expanded roster space for depth. Some for teams out of the race that want an up-close and personal look at their top prospects. Josh Reddick was not one of those guys. He did, however, get a call on July 31st…
…A wake-up call.
July 31st 2010 was the day that Ryan Kalish got the call to the big leagues.
Coming into this season, Josh Reddick was seen as the better prospect (albeit slightly) — between him and Kalish — by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. However, it has been an extremely different season for the two.
Kalish, who hadn’t done anything great in the Sox system since being selected in the ninth round of the 2007 draft, had himself a breakout season. I touched on his success a couple weeks ago, but needless to say, the Boston brass felt like it was he, not Reddick, who was ready to help fill in for an injury plagued big league ball club. While Kalish has done OK in his first go around at the major league level, Josh Reddick has been playing like a man with something to prove; as in, his prospect status.
Reddick actually had a good month of July for Pawtucket hitting .301/.333/.466, but since August 1st, or right after Ryan Kalish got a taste of the big leagues, he has played ball like Denzel Washington in “Man on Fire”destroying almost everything in his path. In the month of August, Reddick hit .350/.370/.626 with eight home runs and was named International League Player of the Week for August 23-29.
As a reward for his torrid assault on International League pitching of late, Reddick has earned himself a call to the big club, which was made official a few hours ago.
Still, one has to be at least a little worried about his long-term impact for the Sox.
On the whole, Reddick has had a down year. His slash line sits at .263/.299/.455 (as of 9/5/10) with 17 home runs (hit his 18th last night) and only four stolen bases in 113 games at triple-A. He’s 23-years-old, which is by no means old, but is by no means young in prospect terms. And, there are big concerns in his progress or lack thereof.
Reddick, who has never held a consistent walk rate, has seen his walk rate decline to only about 5.5 percent this season. Even though his AVG/OBP/SLG has improved since July, Reddick has only drawn eight walks since then against 25 strikeouts. That alone is a big red flag, given his past. Last season, Reddick showed some signs of improvement in plate discipline, but seemed to completely regress upon his chance to play at the big league level. Then, this season, there was no improvement whatsoever.
The raw talent is still there, as we’ve seen over the last month with Pawtucket, but Reddick needs to find some consistency to his game to be considered a serious part of the Red Sox future.
The bigger problem for him may be the other outfielders in his way. Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava have held their own at the big league level while Ryan Westmoreland’s future remains in question — unfortunately. Then we have the fact that Mike Cameron and J.D. Drew are signed through the 2011 season with Jacoby Ellsbury likely to be at full strength by spring training.
In other words, there is not a lot of room in a healthy Red Sox outfield for 2011. Granted, there are no guarantees in that scenario.
Honestly, while the last month put together by Josh Reddick was great, his lack of consistency this season leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe 2010 as a whole will serve as a wake-up call for Reddick. Because his chances to become a Red Sox regular are narrowing by the day.