Will Ryan Kalish Make Opening Day Roster for Red Sox in 2011?


Will Ryan Kalish Make Opening Day Roster for Red Sox in 2011? Ask any of Ryan Kalish's big league teammates to describe the rookie outfielder, and they'll all use the same word: "Impressive."

That's because the 22-year-old has stepped into the Red Sox' lineup and rapidly made the transition from inexperienced youngster to major league ballplayer in the matter of a couple of months. It began on July 31, when Kalish was called up hours before the game, when he took care of his first hit, first RBI and first run scored in his first career game. Within a week, he had his first home run and he was hitting better than .400.

Though he went on a prolonged slump in August, he's since rebounded to level off his offensive numbers. He's hitting .237 with four homers, eight doubles and a triple while drawing eight walks and stealing four bases. His defense has come along as well, as he has been getting some on-the-job training in learning how to play the Green Monster. He's also, for the most part, been able to handle the complexities of Fenway Park's center field.

In Kalish, the Red Sox clearly have a talented young outfielder — but will he be on the big league roster next April?

The answer is a bit more complicated than just a simple yes or no, because it has as much to do with philosophy as it does ability.

Barring any big offseason trades, the team has three starters ready to go in Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew and Mike Cameron. Theo Epstein probably wouldn't mind seeing the trio he assembled this past offseason actually get to play together in 2011, and the health of all three isn't exactly guaranteed, so a trade might not be in the cards.

The fact that the health of those three isn't guaranteed adds to the importance of a fourth outfielder. While Ellsbury should be recovered by then, his injury could linger, and Cameron's age (he'll be 38) and Drew's career average of roughly 120 games per season will open up some semi-regular playing time in the outfield next year.

But should that go to an experienced major leaguer, someone who's been seeing big league pitching for years, or a young kid who will have to deal with the difficulties of coming off the bench?

Some would say that the young player would benefit most from playing every day at Triple-A, working on all aspects of his game so that he can become an everyday player in the majors. Others would say that experience in the majors is invaluable, even if it comes every three or four days.

Kalish has shown that he can hang in the majors, but should he be there when the Sox open their season in Texas in April?

Share your thoughts below.

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