Josh Reddick chats with Fire Brand

Evan BrunellFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2008

Josh Reddick, 21, was named a California League Post-Season All Star after hitting .343/.375/.593 in 312 at-bats, 17 home runs and stealing nine bases (caught once) for Lancaster. He had a cup of coffee with Greenville, hitting .340/.397/.491 in 53 at-bats to start the year. Rocketing up the prospect lists, he is in Portland now andhitting .238/.314/.486 in 105 at-bats with six home runs. Read on to see his thoughts on a few things, including his low average at Portland…

You’ve burst onto the scene of top Red Sox prospects after being drafted in the 17th round in 2006. What do you attribute your success to?

Basically just hard work and commitment to the game. If you don’t enjoy the game of baseball then you are not gonna have very much success. So love for the game plays a very big part. Mainly going out there everyday and working hard to keep yourself motivated.

Lancaster is considered a hitter’s paradise, and you certainly seem to have liked it, looking at your statistics for the team. However, being in a hitter’s paradise may end up being a curse as bad habits could develop. How was Lancaster integral to your development as a hitter? Were there bad habits you slipped into or did Lancaster boost your confidence?

Personally, I don’t believe I got into any bad habits. Carlos Febles [Evan: Yes, the former Royals second baseman who retired in 2003 at age 27],my hitting coach, told me practically everyday not to change my swing and just try to hit a line drive up the middle and everything just worked in my favor as a result to my success. You just have to keep the same swing every day; that way you don’t develop a lift to your swing.

The Red Sox have been asking you to work on being more patient at the plate, but you seem to be having a hard time adjusting to this process. How are you feeling your way through this?      

It is a very hard adjustment for me. I have never been the patient guy at the plate. I was always told if I see a pitch I can handle, then go after it and drive it. As for the Red Sox telling me to walk more, my average has dropped severely below where I would like it so it is very frustrating.

Last year, you mentioned that the Red Sox asked you to work on your nutrition. How is that coming along? Do you think you can pack on some extra muscle and see that translate into power, or do you feel that your current physique is perfect for your game? Why?

I am still struggling to gain weight. But this off season I haven’t been informed on playing in any winter leagues baseball so I will go home and work on that. My body has a lot of potential to fill out and I do believe that it will help me develop more power to my game, therefore increasing my value as a player.

Have you been keeping tabs on your future with the Red Sox and driving to a goal of being a starter for the team once J.D. Drew or Jason Bay leaves as a free agent, or are you the type to stay focused on the present and let things evolve?

I do a little bit of both. I do keep track of what is going on in the big league club. But on the other hand, I just let things play out for me. Because I don’t want to get my hopes up on something and then it not go the way I want it to. I stay focused on the present and let things play out for me because you never know when you are going to get traded or stay with your current club.

How are you handling constantly being on the road and away from your family and friends? What adjustments have you had to make psychologically?

Just having good friends on your team is a great thing to have. Matt Sheely and I were really good buddies out in Lancaster and we lived together so that helped out. I call my parents every day, that way I can keep up with them. And I have a little sister that I need to keep up with so she can tell me stories about what she does at school every day.

Who’s the best player you’ve ever competed with or against, and why?

One of them has to be Lars Anderson. Lars has such potential as a big leaguer that it is ridiculous. His power to all fields is amazing and he has such a great swing fit for Fenway Park. Defensively he is a great first basemen and will put his body in front of the ball to make the play.

Do you read any baseball articles/blogs? If you play baseball, you must be a baseball fan, so how do you indulge your fandom?

I don’t read much of anything unless I am told something is interesting in it to read. Mainly I just keep up with baseball and University of Georgia football. I’m a huge Georgia fan.

Have you thought about debuting in the major leagues? What would you love to do in your debut?

I think every minor league ball player dreams about their major league debut. Personally I would just enjoy the experience of being there just because so few people have that chance. If I have a good day at the plate, that would just be a added bonus.

Thanks to Josh for the time, and good luck on figuring out how to balance hitting for average and being more patient at the plate!