Lovullo, Hazen talk Lars-Reddick-Kalish

This isn’t the time of year Player Development wants to take center stage. This is when the Red Sox like to be in the thick of the postseason race. If anything, young players are sitting on the bench absorbing as they watch the veterans fight for a championship. But this year is different. The injury-marred Sox are six games out in the American League East with 16 games left. In other words, they need somewhat of a miracle to get back to the postseason.

So as an organization, the Sox are making the most of this time by letting three prospects — Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson and Josh Reddick — get regular playing time.

Two men who are are familiar with threse three 2006 draft picks as anyone were both in Seattle. They are Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo and Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen. I had a chance to talk to both of them about the trio the other day, and here is a sampling of their thoughts.

Hazen on Kalish: “He’s a really good athlete. He’s a grinder, a baseball player, a hard worker, he’s earned everything he’s gotten so far. He needs to continue to do so. He’s a really talented player and we like him a lot and he’s had a good opportunity up here to show what he can do and he’s done a pretty good job of it so good for him. He’s worked really hard at this and he’s a great kid and a good teammate. He always has been. Our scouts did a pretty good job I think of identifying the talent of this kid five years ago.”

Hazen on Reddick and the key to adjusting after several moves up and down between the Majors and Minors:  “Being able to relax and let the talent come through. Not try to do hit home runs and try to do too much with every swing on every pitch. That’s probably going to take some time, I would imagine. This is a tough level. This is the best in the world. It’s about learning and figuring it out and he’s got to continue to do that, show that consistency and take that approach, that BP approach, into the games day in and day out.  It’s not one game here or one game there or one day here or one day there. He’s aware of it and he’s working on it and hopefully that’s going to start to translate pretty soon.”

Hazen on Lars Anderson, the last of the three players to mkae it to the Majors: “He’s had a good season. A lot of people somehow forget the Double-A season that he had. If we left him in Double-a, he probably would have had a really good year. He was pushed to Triple-A and he responded to those challenges, I think. The defensive side of the game, he’s really improved this year, which is great to see. He’s worked really hard at it. It’s good to see him come up here and get some results. I know he’s had a couple of tough Major League Spring Trainings so this is even better, to have him have that confidence going into the offseason that he belongs here. He can really play here. That will be good for him.”

Lovullo was the one who managed all three for most of the season. “You know what, first of all it was my honor this year to watch them grow and turn into the players they’re becoming. They worked hard. They responded to the things they’re being taught and they took it from there. They’re all special in their own unique way. They’re all going to be really good big leaguers and I get to watch that kind of translate right now first-hand and I sit here very pridefully watching what they’re doing.”

Lovullo on Kalish’s promotion: “It happened as quick as you could possibly imagine. We’re getting off the bus coming from the airport and within a 20-minute period, we had to get him up to Boston for a day game. I didn’t really have a chance to celebrate with him, but I got a chance to watch him play and perform and he was ready for the challenge. Of the three, he was probably the most ready for me because of the things that he was doing on a consistent basis. I think when you’re that young, if you start to show the consistency, you’re going to show us that you’re ready to go. He made the decision easy for us when it was time for him to get that call. It was a no brainer.”

Lovullo on Reddick keeping his head up after an early-season slump and some struggles during brief earlier call-ups to the big leagues:  “From that standpoint, it was mostly a mental grind for him. He was a last send-down in spring training, a chance to make the team, a quick recall, sent down, another recall. His head was kind of spinning and for a young kid, that’s kind of a challenge. He feels like he belongs in the big leagues, yet taking most of his at-bats in the minor leagues. Some discussions were, let’s get off to a big start so you don’t dig yourself a big hole, which he did. It just seemed to really not fall apart, but just kind of spiral downward from there. He finally got comfortable after a couple of hundred at-bats and it was fun to watch him grow up and become a complete player. He worked on a ton of things fundamentally that have helped out and he almost hit .270 after a slow start. But mentally, it was a challenge for him and that was what I kind of talked to him about early on.”

Lovullo on how Reddick looks far more comfortable in this visit to the “show”: “You can see it. The at-bats that I saw were on TV. I saw the rushed approach. I saw a lot of early count outs. Now he’s just very in-tuned with what the pitcher is doing, he’s balanced. He’s working counts. It’s all translating into him being more productive here. It’s fun for us to watch, it’s fun for me to see it first-hand.”

Lovullo on the rare personality and persevearance of Lars Anderson: “He was the only guy that ever said to me, ‘I love you’ as he’s walking out to go to the big leagues. ‘Hey, I love you, man. I love you guys. Thank you, I’ll see you later.’ We kind of rejoiced and celebrated and that’s the best part of my job. So many people in player development have such a blueprint on who Lars Anderson is. I was the one guy who got a chance to tell him the good news. Lars, for me, grew up right before my eyes. He came and struggled from Double-A. He was hitting in the .190s, he raised his average 65, 70 points to have a very respectable Triple-A season, which is unusual for a guy that age and the struggles that he had. He worked hard to pick himself up. It was a good moment for me to watch these three kids grow up. It’s even a better moment for me to sit here and watch them at the big league level.”

14 Comments

Ryan Kalish is ML ready. I am not sold on Reddick and Anderson yet. IF the Sox make the playoffs, Kalish is westward bound to the Twin City with the team. Go Sox. Go Oreos (for the weekend only)!

The Sox control their own fate. While the Sox are playing the Oreos next week, the Yanks are up against the Rays for 4 albeit at the Yankee stadium. Hopefully the Sox can gain some grounds before heading to the Yankee stadium for the critical weekend series.
Theo must be banging his head seeing the Yanks are caught in the tailspin this time of the season.

To be honest….I think Theo had a pretty good team on the field opening day. I don’t think anyone could have predicted the injury parade that happened. The deadline did not really have a lot of impact players save Cliff Lee for pick up. I was hoping the Rangers or Padres would have faltered by July as maybe Adrian Gonzalez or Mike Young would have been avalable but we have seen how those two teams have done. As it is…..no one is going to give Theo credit for the Sox being 18 games over .500 with this walking wounded crew so I can’t see him banging his head at this point. He’s actually probably pretty happy. I think of all the transactions he has completed over the years he is probably close to 50/50 on the average….I have seen worse. I think the Sox have benefitted from getting a look at a couple young guys and this may actually pay dividends in the off-season when it comes times to put some trades together. This team could have given up months ago and is still going strong. That’s what I am happy to see. We’ll see…it’s not over yet…..and the off-season is coming and Theo will have his chance. I am never one to lay the blame on one person……even Theo has a budget layed out to him by others above him. Go Sox!

Craig:
The opening day lineup was pretty good. But fans were moaning and groaning about Cameron and Beltre. We know Beltre is having a MVP year and Sox wouldn?t be in where they are now w/o him. If Cameron is healthy, I don?t believe he could do worse than the youngsters. No one is solely responsible for the Sox?s falling out of contention. If there is one, I would point the finger at the medical and conditioning staff. Considering the team?s misfortunes and errors, the Sox could conceivably be 25 games above 500 and yet fail to make the playoffs.
Theo could have added one or two reliable arm to the pen. Theo got rid of Ram Ram and MDC but he didn?t replace them with equal or greater value. The pickups like Matt Fox and Hill are not eligible for postseason assuming they are reliable. Prince Felix will most likely be shut down for the year. If the Sox make the playoffs, who can Francona turn to other than Bard, Pap, and Atchison. Offense and starting pitching have to carry the team. Go Sox.

OK Sox fans, it’s do or die time. If the Yanks go 8 and 8 in their last 16 games and the Sox win 14 of 16 they will play a tie breaker. Go Sox!!!!

007…

LOL! Hill isn’t eligible for the postseason roster, what postseason roster would that be? Boston is DONE in 2010 and have been for a couple of weeks! Whoever thinks this team is still alive, please put the crack pipe down.

Just checked the score……………Brian, you might be right, they’re cooked!

Arnie,

The Red Sox have been cooked for a while now, sad but true. I put the nail in the coffin when they lost that Sunday night game in St. Pete against the Rays.

It was clear to me when the season started T.B. and N.Y. were better than Boston. Theo didn’t spend the $$$$ wisely. Props on Beltre, he went far beyond my expectations. Run prevention, I wonder what Theo and the Red Sox will come up with in 2011????

Bowden ( has never impressed me ) continues to get hit hard by big league hitters. I don’t know what the Red Sox see in him!

Hey all! I think it is the pits that Tim is brought in to mop up this mess. What a way to go out! This is my last post for this year. Have a nice winter people. Paul

007,
Great observations….spot on. I also applaud your enthusiasm. I am probably one of the guys who needs to put the crack pipe down even though I have never used one. Just can’t see stepping back in to my youthful “woe is me” Sox days when they never won squat. Those days are behind me. Thanks for peeing on my parade Brian….but I am in denial right now and I kind of like it that way….makes it easier to watch the games. Go Sox.

When a team scored 9 runs, the Sox should have won the game. Lackey sucks. But if the bp contained further damage, the Sox would have a come from behind win. The bp woes sink the Sox. Francona would use Prince Felix if he is available. The result could be different. If the Sox won last night, it ain’t ovah yet until the middle of next week.
Experiment with Bowden should be ovah.

When I first saw the blurb on mlb.com I thought Lackey blew the game…but then checked out the bullpen. Once again the pen blows the game. It’s typical bullpen headaches. This is the type of game that breaks me up wondering how you lose to a .500 team.
Oh well, there’s always next year.

Also, I struggle with Tim Wakefield. They are paying him even if he doesn’t play but he doesn’t have a prayer of getting the wins he needs to make the record. Seems that the Sox have dumped him to the bottom of the barrel and then some. It’s an insult to him considering what Dice-K and Lackey give us (although in fairness, Lackey did pull out a couple of starts and Tim was miserable to watch in his starts this year in many ways.)

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