When Josh Reddick is the topic, I think of three versions of the same player.
1. Goggles-wearing Josh Reddick who was sent back to the minors
2. No-goggles Josh Reddick who was sent back to the minors
3. The 2011 breakout Josh Reddick who took the right field job away from JD Drew
Reddick is another young Red Sox prospect who blends power and speed with solid plate skills. His emergence this season comes at a point in time when the organization needed it to happen. With Drew in the final year of his contract and Ryan Kalish spending most of the season with a shoulder injury, Reddick was a chance at an internal solution for the franchise.
He looked like a trading chip last year when Kalish was making the most of his own opportunity in Boston. Reddick had yet to take advantage of his chances when he was given at-bats with the big club. For most Red Sox fans, Reddick had become an afterthought.
But then last week, in a single swing of the bat…Reddick full enveloped himself as a ‘real’ Red Sox player. Any doubts or ‘yeah-but’s’ surrounding this kid were wiped away with a game-winning RBI in the 10th inning against the Yankees. It was the only hurdle remaining before leaping into the conscience of Boston. Take down the Yankees with everything else you have been doing and suddenly you’ll start seeing #16 t-shirt jerseys on Yawkey Way.
Reddick has done nothing but field, hit and play hard. His acrobatic leaping catch at the wall in Tampa Bay was amazing and it looked like he and Jacoby Ellsbury were trying to high-five 10 feet in the air. The leaping catch robbed Justin Ruggiano of extra-base hits and kept the score at 0-0 through 10 innings. It also probably made Matt Albers a huge fan of the kid.
LINK TO REDDICK CATCH: Reddick Makes Leaping Grab in 10th
In July, all the trade deadline talk circled around the Red Sox being a ‘major’ player in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes, yet nothing happened. Meanwhile, Reddick was professionally going about his business and solidifying himself as a starter — and potentially a star. Drew will be back around the time the rosters expand in September, but he won’t be getting his old job back. That now belongs to Reddick, a 17th round draft pick.
Focus and dedication is what has allowed Reddick to achieve and battle through his development as a player. Back in September 2008, Reddick did an interview with Fire Brand of the American League and told our Evan Brunell that hard work and commitment is the reason for his success. Even then, as a kid in Lancaster, Reddick had frame of mind that has led many big-leaguers to successful careers. And in a blue-collared and prideful city like Boston, Reddick will easily embed himself as a new litter of dirt dog.
If Reddick continues on this path, he will be a huge star in Boston. The fans are desperate to have a hero in right field where the franchise has boasted some of its most popular players including Tony Conigliaro, Dwight Evans, Trot Nixon and even Tom Brunansky for his catch that no one saw that saves the division.
Right field at Fenway is a tough place to play defense which makes you all that more of a star if you can man the position and hit for power with speed. That combination when combined with game-winning hits and acrobatic catches against division opponents is a formula that could shoot Reddick into another stratosphere.