SoxProspects News

February 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM

2010 Prospect Previews: Pete Hissey and Ryan Dent


This addition of the series features two players looking to break camp in 2010 with the Salem Red Sox, with an eye on continuing their work to boost their on-base skills and round into more complete hitters.

Pete Hissey

Position: Outfield
2009 Team: Greenville Drive
2010 Projected Team: Salem Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 20

Strengths: A lean and athletic outfielder, Hissey’s two biggest strengths are his above-average speed and solid approach at the plate. A very selective hitter, he shows a short and quick stroke through the hitting zone, and uses the whole field well for a hitter his age. With an up-the-middle approach, Hissey has a strong understanding of what pitches he can handle, isn’t afraid to go deep into counts, and rarely pulls off the ball. He projects as an excellent contact hitter as he matures more within professional baseball and shows the potential for high on-base ability. Hissey is an improving outfielder and tracks balls well in centerfield, possessing an above-average arm as well. With continue refinement, he has the makings of a solid centerfielder and should have the range to cover the gaps. His lean frame lends him the ability to pack on more muscle as he matures and develop more power down the line. Hissey had a good finish to the second half of the 2009 season, and he looked to have made some nice adjustments after initially struggling the first time around the league with Greenville. With continued comfort at the plate, his hitting skills seem to be improving.

Development Needs: Power is not a large part of Hissey’s game at this point in his career. It currently sits below-average, and he’ll need to work on driving the ball more to improve upon it, while pushing himself with strength training. While projecting more as a lead-off type hitter, rounding into more of a dangerous threat to drive select pitches will further enhance his overall offensive skill set, and lead to more extra-base hits as he reaches higher levels within the Red Sox system. It remains to be seen how much power he is going to be able to add and whether it will translate into games; his swing is more suited towards being a slash hitter right now. At times, he can also be a bit too passive at the plate, but he constantly makes pitchers work and battles during at-bats. Off-speed pitches give him some trouble - he has a tendency to chase balls that dive into the dirt - and improvement on his pitch recognition should cut down on his strikeouts and increase his contact rates. An above-average runner, Hissey is only an average base stealer right now, and he needs to improve upon the jumps and reads he gets off of pitchers to become an impact player in this area of his game.

2010 Outlook: While not a lock, Hissey looks to have a good chance to break camp with Salem this season and man one of the outfield spots with the team. He’ll most likely move around the outfield and get repetitions at each position to enhance his skills. The Red Sox challenged him in 2009, and he showed indications of improvement as the season wore on. Look for him to show some good contact rates when he settles into the season. Some physical maturation should be expected after another off-season with the organization, and this could lead to more extra-base hits this season. Hissey’s improvements could be subtle, but a reduction in his strikeouts will be a good clue that he’s making strides in improving on off-speed pitches and producing more solid contact. While his game isn’t flashy, he’s a player that fits into the mold of the Red Sox philosophy, and he can start rounding into a potential high on-base player on the horizon in the next two to three seasons.

Ryan Dent

Position: Shortstop
2009 Team: Greenville Drive
2010 Projected Team: Salem Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 21


Strengths: After struggling considerably prior to the 2009 season, Dent’s work at the plate started to pay off, and he put together some sustained stretches of positive results during his 2009 season with Greenville. A lot of his early struggles were tied into the work he was doing with his approach at the plate and poor pitch recognition. His approach has made some strong strides, and he’s been able to be much more selective at the plate to boost his on-base skills. Dent has a quick and compact swing, highlighted by very strong wrists and forearms. He’s smooth with pulling his hands through the hitting zone and rifling balls on a line to left-field. Since entering the Red Sox system, he’s been ahead of the curve in terms of physical development and has a strong, well-filled-out frame. Because of his good bat speed, Dent can generate some power and shows the ability to have average power down the line, with possibly a little bit more. He projects as a good doubles hitter with the continued refinement he has been showing and can muscle some balls out of the park on a line. Possessing above-average speed on the base paths, he can impact a game with the stolen base and shows his best speed going from first to third or scoring on a ball hit into the gap. Very raw in the field after signing, Dent has shown good improvements with his skills at shortstop, most notably with his footwork and general technique at the position, elevating his defense to a key strength for him.

Development Needs: Dent still struggles with making contact in some at-bats despite the improvements he has made in his approach, most notably with his patience. This is the key need for him going forward. He can get into stretches where the strikeouts pile up, as he seems to get caught thinking too much at the plate or chasing balls that have no chance of being strikes. At times, he can appear to be guessing too much and needs to continue to trust in the work that he has been doing, dictating at-bats more in the process and not allowing pitchers to work him into their counts. Further improvement in his selectivity and discipline to not chase balls early in the count will go a long way towards him consistently driving balls, with added focus of using the whole field more and not just strictly being a pull-hitter. When Dent gets behind in the count, he is still susceptible to off-speed pitches, and this leads to a number of his strikeouts. Where he’s working more counts and going deeper, improvement with his bat control to spoil tough pitches will give him more chances to attack an offering that grabs more of the plate. On defense, Dent’s arm is fringe-average for a shortstop and he may ultimately move off the position, possibly over to second base as he gets higher in the system. His release is quick, but it lacks the strength to make the long throws from the hole. Given his strong improvement in the field, he can make a smooth transition to the right side of the diamond and project as a solid defender at second base.

2010 Outlook: With a good camp and continued exhibition of his overall improvements, Dent looks to have a very good chance to break camp with Salem in 2010. After earning the Red Sox Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2009, it will be interesting to see what position he ends up playing, with fellow shortstop prospect Oscar Tejeda looking to be joining him in Salem. High-A will be a challenge for Dent to apply his improved approach and build on his pitch recognition. He’ll need to continue to have trust in it and let pitchers come to him. Look for Dent to flash his speed and to drive gap shots at this level, piling up some doubles in the process. If he can sustain his selectivity, he can show some moderate home run power in 2010. Dent’s a good example of a player who came into the system very raw and unpolished, and the type of improvements these players can make in their early careers. While he still has work to do in refining his offensive game, he’s come a long way from his 2008 season with Lowell and is growing at a good clip as a player. 2010 is another year of building for Dent, and a year which can see him rise as a player due to the improvements in his defensive game, and push towards making his approach a key strength.

 
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