Red Sox Midseason Report





Best Player: Shortstop Oscar Tejeda was one of the Red Sox's first big-ticket forays into the Latin American market under general manager Theo Epstein and VP of international scouting Craig Shipley. After an impressive U.S. debut in 2007, injuries led to seemingly flat performances with low Class A Greenville in both 2008 (.261/.301/.347) and 2009 (.257/.311/.332).

But this year, Tejeda has been a force for high Class A Salem. The 20-year-old, who moved to second base this season, has delivered a tremendous performance despite being the fifth-youngest position player in the Carolina League. Tejeda was hitting .332/.355/.507 with eight homers (matching his longball total from 2007-09).

"I don't think his talent went anywhere," farm director Mike Hazen said. "I just think he matured physically to the point where he's impacting the ball more."

Biggest Leap Forward: Ryan Lavarnway quietly turned in one of the best offensive seasons in the Boston system in 2009, hitting .285/.367/.540 for low Class A Greenville while leading all Sox minor leaguers with 21 homers. He has again been an offensive standout at a higher level this season, hitting .310/.403/.528 with 14 homers through 72 games for Salem. Yet the 22-year-old's biggest strides have been as a catcher. Sox player development staffers rave about the progress the 2008 sixth-round pick out of Yale has made in his receiving, throwing, footwork and game-calling. Those defensive improvements at a premium position, in turn, have elevated Lavarnway's prospect status. 

Biggest Disappointment: After an outstanding spring training in big league camp, it was easy to anticipate outfielder Josh Reddick pounding Triple-A pitching and positioning himself for a regular big league role by late-2010. Instead, he's struggled with Pawtucket, hitting .209/.259/.370 through June. It's been a challenging year as the 2006 17th-round pick out of Middle Georgia JC has shuttled between the majors and Triple-A. Moreover, peripherals like his line drive rate and batting average on balls in play suggest that he's been hitting better than his numbers. He is still regarded as a potential everyday outfielder in the majors. Still, he's undeniably struggled this year, though Reddick hopes to use that fact as a developmental tool. 

"It taught me a lot about how I should stay consistent and react to this game," said Reddick. "That's part of development as a baseball player. You've got to take steps when you're succeeding or failing." 

Sox Yarns

• Third baseman Kolbrin Vitek, Boston's 2010 first-round pick, was off to a .268/.411/.321 start through his first 56 professional at-bats with short-season Lowell. He also was 4-for-4 stealing bases.

• Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra took a physical in Boston on June 28 in hopes of finalizing his five-year, $3 million deal (with incentives that could make it worth $4.3 million).