On the day of Major League Baseball's trading deadline, Josh Reddick awaited his future. On the road with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs in Harrisburg, Pa., Reddick knew that a phone call could be one that sends him to another organization.
Reddick did get a phone call that day, and he was sent to a new team: the Boston Red Sox.
The 22-year-old outfielder got his first major league at-bat that night, grounding out to the shortstop. The next day, he got his first start, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. He upped his performance the next day when he hit his first big league home run.
All this made Red Sox fans wonder, "Who the heck is this Reddick kid?"
At the time, only those who closely followed the Red Sox' farm system had even heard of Reddick, who still isn't considered the team's top outfield prospect. Yet his performance, while somewhat sporadic, showed promise for the kid from Savannah, Ga. He hit just .169 in 27 games, but his four doubles and two homers displayed some major league power that got Red Sox fans excited for his future.
But at this point in time, it's just too soon to expect Reddick to be able to deliver on a daily basis for the major league club. The only way Reddick makes the 2010 Opening Day roster will be if the front office swings and misses on signing any of the available free agents.
That's not a knock on Reddick, it's just that while he showed a solid stroke, his consistency above the Double-A level was lacking. In 18 games with Triple-A Pawtucket, Reddick actually had a lower batting average (.127) than he had in the majors. He went 9-for-79 with two extra-base hits (both triples), six RBIs and 13 strikeouts. Those numbers were a far cry from his Double-A stats (.277 average, .520 slugging, 13 homers and 29 RBIs), and they were indicative of a 22-year-old working out the kinks.
Defensively, Reddick showed some major league talent, but in Boston, that won't be enough to earn a lineup spot.
For Reddick, the experience gained in 2009 was invaluable.
"Being out there and to get the experience in the dugout sitting on the bench all night was just an experience for me," he told The Boston Globe. "When they told me to loosen up, that’s when it really kicked in and I just had to step back and swallow it and take a couple of deep breaths and go out there and play the same game I’ve been playing for about 20 years."
Reddick's ceiling is still viewed as being somewhat lower than that of 19-year-old Ryan Westmoreland and 21-year-old Ryan Kalish, but neither Westmoreland or Kalish have any experience higher than Double-A (Westmoreland played just 19 games for Single-A Lowell in 2009). That should be enough for Reddick to be the first to be called up next season should the Red Sox need an outfielder, though the signing of Jeremy Hermida showed the team wasn't comfortable with having Reddick as its fourth outfielder.
That doesn't mean Reddick doesn't figure into the future plans of the Red Sox. His name will likely be thrown into a number of trade rumors, as will the names of Kalish and Westmoreland. Whether one or more those players gets moved will shape the look of the Red Sox, though the team is likely just as happy keeping their future outfielders under their own control.
NESN.com will answer one Red Sox question each day in November.
Thursday, Nov. 26: Which players will strengthen the Red Sox' bench?
Saturday, Nov. 28: What does the future hold for Ryan Westmoreland?
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