- Full name Ryan Michael Kalish
- Born 03/28/1988 in Northridge, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Red Bank Catholic
- Debut 07/31/2010
Drafted in the 9th round (283rd overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 2006 (signed for $600,000).
View Draft ReportA superior athlete who starred as a high school quarterback and played both ways on the baseball field, Kalish figures to be a tough sign because of his commitment to Virginia. There was talk Kalish could play both sports at UVa, but he appears to be focused on baseball. Kalish injured his arm playing basketball and aggravated it pitching early in the year, so he's split time between center field, DH and first base to spare his sore arm. When healthy, Kalish has at least average arm strength that should play at any outfield position, and he's at least an average runner. Scouts are divided on where he profiles. Some say he's a pure center fielder, while others see him as a tweener who lacks the speed to play center and the power for a corner spot. A raw offensive player because of his three-sport background, Kalish has shown little power despite a compact frame that invites comparisons to Jim Edmonds and Trot Nixon. He consistently makes good contact, but his hands drift and he does not hit with much leverage. Like Nixon and Edmonds, Kalish is an intense competitor who plays with high energy.
Organization Prospect Rankings
After a broken hamate bone truncated his 2007 season and affected him mentally in 2008, Kalish showed last year why he got a $600,000 bonus as a ninth-round pick out of high school. The Red Sox named him their minor league offensive player of the year after he set career highs in most categories and finished with a flourish, hitting .299 with 12 homers in the last two months in Double-A. No longer worried about his hand, Kalish turned his swing loose and hit hard line drives all over the field. He manages his at-bats as well as anyone in the system, waiting for pitches he can drive and taking walks if they don't come. He can steal and take extra bases with his slightly above-average speed and smarts. He gets good jumps on fly balls, allowing him to play center field, though he fits better in right. His arm is average. Kalish added loft to his swing and did a better job of using his legs at the plate in 2009, and the Red Sox would like to see more of that so he can bring out more power. Some scouts see him as a tweener without the defense to play center or the bat to profile on a corner. Kalish eventually may battle Josh Reddick for a corner-outfield job in Boston. They'll probably begin 2010 as teammates in Triple-A.
Though he had yet to reach full-season ball, Kalish's name surfaced prominently in trade rumors last offseason when the Red Sox were linked to the Twins and Johan Santana. After signing late for $600,000 as a ninth-round pick in 2006 and being brought along slowly before breaking the hamate bone in his right hand in 2007, Kalish finally got in a full season last year. He did spend most of April in extended spring training while completing his recovery from hamate surgery, and he seemed cautious with his swing once he returned. Kalish didn't turn the bat loose like he had in the past, which had a pronounced affect on his power. Boston hopes he'll trust his hands again in 2009 and envisions that he could develop the power for 15-20 homers annually, perhaps more if he adds some loft to his line drive swing. The rest of Kalish's game was solid as usual in 2008. He has a sweet lefty stroke and a good sense of the strike zone, so he should hit for average. Legend has it that he didn't swing and miss at a single pitch as a high school senior. While Kalish has slowed slightly as he has gained some strength, he's a 55 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale and possesses some basestealing savvy. A fundamentally sound defender who split time between center and right field last year, he fits better in right, though his arm is fringe-average. Kalish is a hard-nosed player who brings energy to the ballpark every day. He'll probably open 2009 in high Class A and has a chance to reach Double-A as a 21-year-old. He's sandwiched between Josh Reddick and Pete Hissey in the race to be Boston's right fielder of the future.
It may be apocryphal, but legend has it that Kalish didn't swing and miss at a single pitch as a high school senior. Because he was strongly committed to Virginia, he dropped to the ninth round, where the Red Sox signed him for $600,000. He was hitting .368 at short-season Lowell when an errant pitch broke the hamate bone in his right wrist in mid-July, ending his year and necessitating surgery in September. Kalish's approach and plate discipline are quite advanced for his age, which combined with his sweet lefty swing mean that he should have little trouble hitting for average. He already pulls his share of pitches and could develop into a 15-20 homer threat, perhaps more if he adds some loft to his swing. He's a plus runner with good instincts in center field. He has a strong work ethic and constant energy. Kalish is still growing and if he loses a step, he wouldn't profile as a leadoff hitter or center fielder. He'll need to improve his arm strength if he shifts to right field. Because he signed late in 2006 and got hurt last year, he has accumulated just 142 pro at-bats in parts of two seasons. Kalish began hitting again after Thanksgiving and should be 100 percent for spring training, where an assignment to low Class A awaits. He's most often compared to J.D. Drew, whom he eventually could succeed as Boston's right fielder.
Kalish fell to the ninth round in June because of signability questions, but when he learned Boston had selected him right before he received his high school diploma, he quickly swapped his mortarboard for a Sox cap. Kalish agreed to terms for $600,000. He was a three-sport star in high school who had a baseball scholarship to Virginia. Boston is confident that Kalish will hit, because he has a good set-up and a sweet lefthanded strokie. He didn't swing and miss at a single pitch as a high school senior. His numbers in his pro debut were lackluster, but he was coming off a long layoff and most of his at-bats came in the New York-Penn League against more experienced pitchers. Kalish has some pull power, but he doesn't have a lot of leverage in his swing and is more liable to drive the ball in the gaps. He's a plus runner who has the range to play center field and the arm strength to throw out runners from right. He's a high-energy player who loves to be on the diamond. The Red Sox showed that they're not shy about challenging Kalish when they sent him to the NY-P, and they also had him spend time in their Dominican instructional league to broaden his horizons. They could test him again in 2007 by sending him to low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Kalish spent just over a month in Pawtucket, sandwiched between a season-opening stint in Double-A and semi-regular duty in Boston's injury-ravaged outfield. Local writers voted Kalish the Red Sox's rookie of the year after he hit .252/.305/.405, including a pair of grand slams, and provided some highlight catches in center field. Kalish has the approach and hand-eye coordination to hit for average, though some scouts question his bat speed and wonder if he'll have average home run power. He runs well and has keen instincts on the bases, swiping 35 bases in 39 tries between three levels this year. His speed and average arm play well in center field, though he can take better routes to balls. "Ryan has been one of the most exciting players I've seen at this level," Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo said. "He offers so many intangibles, they make him a complete player and, I believe, a potential superstar at the major league level."
A broken hamate bone that required surgery in 2007 still lingered last year, when Kalish hit just five home runs. He swung the bat with greater authority this season, launching 18 homers between Salem and Double-A Portland. Kalish has a line-drive swing and gets the bat head through the zone quickly. He mostly works gap to gap, but he has good strength in his hands and some loft in his swing, so he could grow into average power. He has good pitch recognition and strike-zone discipline. Kalish shuffled between all three outfield positions, and he showed the ability to get good jumps and reads off the bat at each. A solid-average runner with good arm strength and accuracy, he fits best in right field.
Kalish missed the first three weeks of the season while recovering from surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his wrist that he sustained when hit by a pitch the previous July. He played right field for three months prior to moving to center when Lin left for the Olympics. Regardless of where he played, he proved to be a classic gamer by bringing a football mentality to the diamond. Kalish batted in each of the top four spots in Greenville lineup. He has above-average foot speed, solid bat speed and a line-drive stroke with the potential for average power, making him best suited for the No. 2 or 3 hole. His instincts could allow him to stay in center, though he's not as impressive as Lin defensively, while his arm is close to average. "I really liked the way he plays the game," Quatraro said. "He has a good idea at the plate and battles very well."
The Red Sox bought Kalish out of a commitment to Virginia by giving him a $600,000 signing bonus as a ninth-round pick a year ago, and he's making the investment look wise. He got a taste of the NY-P in 2006, though he was much better in his first extended stint in the league this summer as a 19-year-old. A wrist injury shortened his season prematurely, but doctors advised rest instead of surgery, so he should be ready to open the 2008 season. A dynamic football player in high school, Kalish has a sturdy, athletic build and is aggressive in all phases of the game. He makes consistent, hard contact to all fields with a short, quick lefthanded swing. He's mostly a line-drive hitter, but he's strong enough to hit the ball out of the park and projects to hit 15-20 homers down the road. Kalish also stole 18 bases in 21 attempts. He's a very good defender in center field, with excellent range and instincts and a playable arm. "I loved him," Barkett said. "I was not happy he got hurt, but I was happy we didn't have to see him anymore. He was the heart and soul of that ballclub. He got on base, swung the bat, had a powerful presence and he could go get it in the outfield. Just a gamer."