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SoxProspects News

February 14, 2011 at 9:40 AM

2011 Prospect Previews: Derrik Gibson and Henry Ramos

Today's edition of the series features one of the Red Sox' younger players looking to take the next step in his development and a 2010 draftee set to begin his first full season in the organzation.

Derrik Gibson
Position: Shortstop/Second Base
2010 Team: Greenville Drive
2011 Projected Team: Salem Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 21

Strengths: An exceptional athlete with game-changing speed, Gibson displays solid all-around tools in each facet of the game. Possessing strong and explosive wrists, he quickly whips the head of the bat through the strike zone with a short, compact stroke. Gibson generates plus bat speed, with the ability to drive fastballs hard into the left-centerfield gap and produce his fair share of line drives when pulling the ball. Raw with his control of the strike zone and approach when he entered the Red Sox system, he’s made strong strides in this department and has taken quickly to the teachings of the organization. His improved patience and discipline have enabled him to get into better hitting counts, and he’s comfortable going deeper into counts where he can spoil tougher pitches before finding one to drive. Hitting with a short stride, Gibson can stay back on his back leg well to react with his hands and fluidly bring the head of the bat to the point of contact. With quick reactions and soft hands, he shows the makings of an above-average defender in the middle infield and has excellent range to either his left or right. Gibson still steals some bases because of his well above-average speed, and has made improvements with how he reads pitchers and gets excellent jumps on stolen base attempts. He projects as an impact base stealer as he continues his rise up the ranks of the system.

Development Needs: Lean and slight of build, Gibson still has work in front of him to add strength to his frame and grow into his offensive tools. He struggles to drive balls consistently and doesn’t get much punch behind the ball as of now. He projects to have no more than average power as he matures and his path to the big leagues will be tied into how much contact he can make at the top or bottom of a lineup. Continued improvement with his approach and some adjustments with his swing mechanics, mainly to how he hits to the opposite field, should help push him on a projected path of a starting infielder as he makes his way into the high minors during the next couple of seasons. Right now, Gibson struggles to hit the ball the other way with much authority and fights off offerings on the outer corner rather than lead with his hands to drive them. Improvements with this aspect of his swing should be a main focus for him during his near-term development. Another big need for him is to cut down on his strikeouts and to produce more frequent solid contact. Much of this is tied into being further ahead on the age-advancement scale, but he can also get into ruts of jumping at pitches early in the count or pulling off secondary offerings. Though he possesses a solid-average arm, it doesn’t play as well at shortstop, and he can have a tough time making long throws from deep in the hole. He looks better suited defensively at second base but could probably handle shortstop in a backup/utility role down the line.

2011 Outlook: After finding his footing and adjusting to his placement with the Greenville Drive for the first half of 2010, Gibson began to gain some traction as the season came to a close, especially with working more counts and drawing walks to reach base. While his contact skills were challenged for much of the season and will be tested considerably with his expected promotion to Salem to start the 2011 season, he has the potential to have a breakout season as his physical development starts to catch up to the work he has done with polishing his skills. Expect Gibson to need some time to adjust to starting out in High-A, but as the season grinds along he should continue to show the ability to work counts to draw walks, while a bump in extra-base hits will be a good sign that he’s driving the ball more. Strong improvement with his contact will come as he learns to hit the ball the other way with authority, and if he can do so more regularly in 2011 it will be a strong indicator that he’s moving towards being ready for the high minors. Though his 2010 statistical line might not look impressive, like with most young players a lot of times strong results can lag behind the actual developmental strides they are making. Continued improvement and putting those practices into game action may very well lead Gibson to show those results this season, and push him on the track as a rising future everyday player within the Red Sox organization.

Henry Ramos
Position: Outfield
2010 Teams: Gulf Coast Red Sox/Lowell Spinners
2011 Projected Team: Lowell Spinners
Opening Day Age: 18

Strengths: Drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of Puerto Rico, Ramos is an athletic outfielder at the beginning his career in the Red Sox organization. With a smooth swing from both sides of the plate, he shows above-average potential as he learns the strike zone and how to lift the ball with his swing. Ramos drives his hands down to the point of contact well and displays good extension to create backspin when he squares a pitch up. Getting a taste as life as a professional in the Gulf Coast League and with a late season promotion to Lowell, he took well to his initial instruction and shows good enthusiasm. With a solid frame and room to pack on more muscle as he matures, he projects to be a player with a game centering on power and has the makings of an average to better corner outfield defensively, highlighted by a strong arm and enough speed to cover ground into the gaps.

Development Needs: Ramos’ overall game is very raw and it is going to take time for him to develop a strong enough approach to settle in against professional pitching. During his short time with Lowell, he was a bit behind fastballs and fooled considerably by offerings with break to them. With continued instruction and exposure to advanced pitching, Ramos should improve, but he’s going to have to work hard initially at learning how to become a hitter so he can start to tap into his tools and produce enough consistent contact to push himself up to the full-season ranks. This will be his biggest and most important need in the early going, driving the pace of his offensive development. As Ramos becomes more comfortable and starts to make strides with producing contact, the next step is to learn how to hit with power, and some improvement with how he lifts the ball is a key need to produce higher home run totals. Right now, though he is strong for a player his age, he has a level swing, and finding the right balance on hitting with lift will enable him to tap into his natural power.

2011 Outlook: Young and at the infant stages of his development, Ramos looks like a leading candidate to stay back in Extended Spring Training when the full-season teams head north. He will get a chance to compete for a spot with Greenville, but with the outfielders ahead of him and the lack of polish in his game, a placement with Lowell when the Spinners’ season gets underway can be expected. This potential assignment will be a good test for Ramos to put all of the instruction he gets during the spring into practice and begin to show he has the makings of an improving hitter. Positive signs of development during the season will be improved contact rates and improvement with the use of all fields showing up in his game. The latter will go a long way for Ramos to maintain consistency in the New York-Penn League and display that he is staying back on the ball, with a focus on an up-the- middle approach. Ramos possesses a nice foundation of tools and while raw, he has the type of rough edges that can round into a balanced and blended baseball package. Years away and with a lot of work to go, much of what he can become won’t show until future seasons, but once 2011 can prove to show a glimpse of that potential.