Ryan Kalish: Why Red Sox Prospect Is on the Verge of MLB Stardom

Sean Delorge@@sdelorgeCorrespondent IIIJune 26, 2012

Ryan Kalish has the tools to be a star.
Ryan Kalish has the tools to be a star.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of a youth movement, and one of their prospects, outfielder Ryan Kalish, has a chance at becoming a bona fide star.

Will Middlebrooks has already become a star in Boston, and isn’t far from reaching that on a national level.

Two years ago, Kalish was on the verge of being that player.

He came up in 2010 and showed fans that he could hit, play great defense and had the speed to steal a base or stretch a single into a double.

Kalish has managed to win over fans in his limited time in Boston due to his willingness to give up his body on defense and the hustle he’s shown on the base paths.

Even though Kalish didn’t jump of the page statistically, hitting just .252 in 2010, he drove in 24 runs and had 10 stolen bases in just 53 games (per BaseballReference.com). For a 22-year-old coming into the pressure cooker environment that is Boston, he handled himself well, which is an encouraging sign of things to come.

The Red Sox have a player that is capable of building on his average power since he is still young, has quick hands and is well built for a speedy outfielder.

Even though he may not have the potential to hit 25 home runs, Kalish could prove to be a Carl Crawford type player. He doesn’t have the elite speed of Crawford, but he has shown the ability to hit for average and steal bases, all while playing top-notch defense.

Fans may look at Kalish and see parts of previous fan favorite Trot Nixon. While that may be a fair comparison for some aspects of Kalish’s game, he is a better athlete than Nixon was, and if he can come close to Nixon’s power at the plate he will absolutely be a star.

The biggest knock on Kalish has been his inability to stay healthy for an extended period of time. Due to his all out style of play, he is prone to injury and has subsequently re-evaluated his playing style.

Though Kalish has had a string of bad luck that has resulted in some of the injuries, he has admittedly adjusted his style of play. “I should still pick and choose my spots. That’s what I’m going to have to do now,” he said.

“I think I’m going to get a feel for it. Sliding headfirst right now is probably not something I’m going to do. Feet-first is just as effective.

"I haven’t dove for a ball yet in the outfield, but if the time comes, I’m going to give it a shot. I think I’m going to be fine. I’m confident in how I’m feeling. If the time calls, I’ve got to lay out for my team.” (via BostonHerald.com)

So in the post-steroid era, Kalish is the all-round player that has the potential to thrive in Boston. His defensive ability will allow him to consistently make top-10 countdowns and his gritty play will win over fans nationwide.

For a player that has gone through some tough times battling injuries and being forced to shut it down for extended periods of time, Kalish has remained steadfast in his commitment to becoming an impact player for the Red Sox.

Now he is healthy and back in the big leagues after making quick work out of his minor league rehab assignment.

In his last stop in Pawtucket, Kalish flashed his power potential by hitting four home runs in just 10 games, batting .378 and recording a .477 OBP (per BaseballReference.com).

While Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury will get most of the attention when they return, Kalish has the potential to be the next star in the Red Sox's outfield.

He isn’t far from being an All-Star. If he can stay healthy, continue to play great defense and be relentless on the bases, and take the next step as a hitter, then Kalish will be a star.

There may be a few hurdles for Kalish to overcome before he reaches stardom, but if anyone can do it, he can.