Josh Reddick: Undervalued Power Hitter

May 23, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick (16) earns a walk against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Josh Reddick was one of the Red Sox top hitting prospects ever since he burst onto the prospect scene in his first season in Low A back in 2007. That season, he hit .306-.352-.531 with 18 HRs, 72 RBI, 60 runs and 8 stolen bases in 369 at bats. He also tossed in 17 doubles and 6 triples, a solid strikeout rate of 12.7% with a so-so walk rate of 6.5%. He wasn't extremely lucky as his BABIP of .311 tells us he has a good hit tool.

The following season, he started in Low A, but that lasted just 58 plate appearances as his triple slash line of .340-.397-.491 showed he was not being challenged anymore, so the Red Sox promoted him to High A where he continued to hit. In 312 at bats, he hit 17 HRs, with 57 RBI, 60 runs scored, and 9 stolen bases with a triple slash line of .342-.375-.593. He added 11 doubles and 8 triples for a total of 36 extra base hits in 76 games.

The Red Sox felt he needed another challenge and moved him up to AA before the 2008 season ended, and that's where he struggled. The challenge of facing some of the best pitching prospects in baseball proved too much for Reddick, as he ended his first stint in AA hitting .214-.290-.436

Reddick repeated AA in 2009 and hit .277-.352-.520 with 13 HRs, 47 runs, 29 RBI and 5 stolen bases which earned him a promotion to AAA, where he, again, struggled. Seems like a common theme as he moved up to more challenging levels of the minors. In 71 AAA at bats he hit .127-.190-.183 with a HR and 6 RBI.

More on Josh Reddick after the jump:

Reddick spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons in AAA not hitting for a good average or an ability to get on base, but showing solid power. In 2010, he hit .266-.301-.466 with 18 HRs, 59 runs, 65 RBI and 4 stolen bases with an ISO of .200.

Throughout the minors, he really didn't strike out a lot, his highest K% being in 21.6% in AA in 2009, but he did take the free pass every now and then with walk rates ranging from 5.1% to 10.5%. That is, until his 2011 season, where he cranked his walk rate to 14.3%, with an acceptable strikeout rate of 16.9%. He hit .230-.333-.508 with 14 HRs, 37 runs, 36 RBI and 4 stolen bases in 2011. Again, he did not hit for much average, but the power was present, as his .277 ISO reflected.

He earned a promotion to the big league club (he had a cup of coffee in 2010), where he hit .280-.327-.457 with 7 HRs, 41 runs and 28 RBI in 254 at bats with the Red Sox. But, this past offseason, the Red Sox decided to let closer Jonathan Papelbon walk via free agency, and decided they needed a closer. They coveted A's closer Andrew Bailey, and dealt Reddick for Bailey to fill their 2012 closer need.

This trade, right now, is looking bad for the Red Sox, as Bailey is on the DL till the All Star break, and Reddick is tearing it up in Oakland. So far in 2012, Reddick is hitting .272-.335-.538 with 12 HRs, 29 runs, 25 RBI and 5 stolen bases hitting cleanup for the run-deprived Athletics team. Like his minor league stats showed, Reddick isn't getting on base all that much, although he has his BA up to .272, he is hitting for excellent power.

His .266 ISO ranks 13th in all of baseball, ahead of better known power hitters Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Bautista and Carlos Gonzalez, and his .538 slugging percentage ranks 25th amongst all qualified hitters in baseball as well. According to ESPN, he is on pace for 42 HRs, 88 RBI and 18 stolen bases this season.

I don't see him hitting 40+ homers, but we could easily see 30 home runs from him. Last season, there were only 23 players who hit 30 or more home runs, so despite playing half of his games in a pitchers park, Reddick is a valuable, and underrated power hitter.

I imagine the Red Sox are second guessing their offseason trade right about now.

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