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SoxProspects News

March 14, 2011 at 7:52 AM

2011 Prospect Previews: Yamaico Navarro and Josh Reddick

Today's edition of the series takes an in-depth look at two of the upper level prospects within the Red Sox organzation working to position themselves for an opportunity to potentially contribute to the major league team during the 2011 season.

Series Note: The 2011 Prospect Previews will pick back up Monday March 21 due to the Staff trip to Fort Myers this week. Tune into SoxProspects.com the rest of the week for all of the coverage from Red Sox Minor League Spring Training.

Yamaico Navarro
Position: Infielder
2010 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs/Pawtucket Red Sox/Boston Red Sox
2011 Projected Team: Pawtucket Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 23

Strengths: Athletic and agile, Navarro generates excellent batspeed accented by his quick and explosive wrists. Capable of driving the ball with good backspin, he produces solid-average pull power and can also muscle up on pitches running away from him to produce hard line drives to the opposite field. An aggressive hitter, Navarro has made strides with his selectivity in recent seasons and has cut down on the amount of offerings that he chases outside of the strike zone, improving upon the amount of consistent contact he makes in the process. Dangerous on fastballs middle-in, he’s adept at pulling his hands inside the ball and driving it into the left-centerfield gap with authority. Navarro shows some good pop for a middle infielder and hit his fair share of extra-base hits. A natural shortstop, his instincts, above-average range, and plus arm highlight an excellent overall defensive package. Navarro has the ability and polished skills to continue to play a more than adequate shortstop at the major league level. Sliding over to third base last season, he’s made a smooth transition to handling the hot corner and possesses the defensive ability to handle the left side of the infield at the big league level. His defensive versatility provides flexibility with the type of role he can fulfill on a big league roster down the line.

Development Needs: Handling advanced breaking balls has been a weakness for Navarro since reaching the upper levels of the minors. He can be a guess hitter at the plate, sitting all over fastballs, and then getting extremely fooled on secondary offerings and either swinging over them or producing weak contact. Further work with improving his selectivity and not over-committing his hands during his load will be a must going forward for Navarro to produce enough contact at the major league level to profile as an everyday player. More than capable of turning around anyone’s fastball, he must prove he can hit secondary offerings to continue to see enough fastballs that he can attack. Continued focus on using the whole field will help him keep his weight back and not get too far out on his front foot. An improving aspect of his offensive game, Navarro can still chase pitches in tough spots when he is ahead in the count and negate the good work he did to first get himself into a hitter’s count. Guilty in the past of letting his concentration drift, especially defensively, putting these instances behind him should make him more reliable and cut down on the mental mistakes he makes.

2011 Outlook: Still in camp with the major league team, Navarro has been handling himself well in game action and is continuing his preparation for the upcoming season. Most likely breaking camp with Pawtucket at the end of Spring Training, he’ll get a chance to man shortstop in Triple-A to start the season, but will also probably slide over to third base on occasion to keep him sharp at both positions. After a late season promotion to Pawtucket at the end of 2010, Navarro will look to continue to build off the offensive progress he made last season. Good signs that he’s trending towards being more of a selective hitter should show with higher extra-base totals and more consistent contact at this level. He has the ability to produce solid home run totals for a middle infielder as he further settles in against the pitching in the International League. Ready defensively for the major leagues, 2011 is a season to put the finishing touches on his offensive game and prove that he can make enough contact to potentially help the big league team at some point during the season, should the need arise. An improving player and one with an intriguing skill set, Navarro is type of young depth the Red Sox look for when they have to reach down into their system during the season. On track to potentially fulfill a utility type role down the line, 2011 could also see him moved at the deadline to help the team’s push to the playoffs and provide an opportunity for him in a potential starting role with another organization in the future.

Josh Reddick
Position: Outfield
2010 Teams: Pawtucket Red Sox/Boston Red Sox
2011 Projected Team: Pawtucket Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 24

Strengths: A wiry and lean athlete, Reddick brings top notch tools to the baseball diamond. Unleashing a whip-like swing from the left side of the plate, he’s able to effortlessly generate batspeed and creates a lot of loft when he squares the ball up. Hitting with excellent backspin when he makes contact, Reddick is capable of producing good power to all fields and shows very good pull power, often putting a jolt into offerings when he fully extends and gets the head of the bat out in front of the ball. An outstanding fastball hitter, his best hitting zones are on offerings down in the strike zone. Reddick has the ability to produce solid-average power at the major league level with further honing of his hitting skills and can enhance how he drives balls to the opposite field by making more of a commitment to stay back with his hands to guide pitches running away from him into leftfield. Capable of manning each of the outfield positions, Reddick fits more into a corner spot at the big league level, where his solid range and plus arm play up well. He displays very good closing speed when tracking down flyballs and gets great jumps off the bat, moving especially well to his right. Already an above-average defender, Reddick is capable of providing the big club with excellent defense and is an asset with the flexibility he has in regards to being able to cover all three of the outfield spots.

Development Needs: Selectiveness and plate discipline have always been needs for Reddick during his minor league career. Able to hit with his raw skills in the low minors, since reaching the upper minors he has found it a bit of a challenge to find a level of consistency against the more advanced pitching. Ultra aggressive, Reddick chases elevated fastballs with frequency and gets himself too far out in front of breaking balls that sweep across the plate, often doing very little with the ones he makes contact against. Despite his excellent batspeed he swings and misses at a good amount of offerings, especially when trying to yank pitches rather than take what is given to him. While he has made some strides with relaxing and keeping himself back at the plate in recent seasons, during his stints in the major leagues pitchers have been able to work him off the plate and allow him to get himself out. Reddick doesn’t profile as a hitter that is going to draw a ton of walks, but improvement with his selectivity is a must for him to project as more than a fourth outfielder on a big league roster. Right now, he doesn’t show enough discipline and pitch recognition to consistently tap into his power at the highest level, other than running into mistake pitches.

2011 Outlook: Further down on the Red Sox outfield depth chart this spring, Reddick is slated to head north with Pawtucket in April and continue to try to push his offensive skills in Triple-A. After an extremely slow start to 2010 with the PawSox, he found a groove in the second half of the season and began to produce much more consistent contact to all fields by the end of the season. Picking up where he left off in 2011 will go a long way for Reddick to prove that he is trending towards being able to handle upper level pitching with more consistency. Positive signs of development lie with the amount of streakiness he shows this coming season. Limiting the instances of extreme lows and highs is a good tell that he’s working to attack better offerings and cut down on the amount of times he gets himself out. With good power to all fields, more trust in using his hands and not feeling like he has to try to pull every pitch will show with more line drives to all fields, which should elevate his contact rates in the process. Possessing solid skills on both sides of the ball, 2011 is a season for Reddick to show he’s getting over the hurdle in regards to his work with his approach at the plate. While behind other outfielders as the season gets underway, he’ll look to stay sharp in Triple-A and can still figure into the big league mix down the line as the summer heats up. As the big league team assesses potential needs during the season, Reddick could also become an attractive chip to other organizations looking to move an established player and bring in younger ones, giving him a new opportunity to carve out a future major league role.