It looks like the latest chapter in the very sad devolving of Ryan Kalish as a top prospect. Once one of the most highly touted prospects in the Red Sox’ system, if not all of baseball, injuries have taken their toll on Kalish’s remarkable ability. Ever since he batted .252/.305/.406 as a rookie in 2010, he has been struck hard by injuries, primarily to his neck and shoulder. Several sources have reported that Kalish is likely undergo surgery on an unspecified condition that will keep him out of spring training.
This problem has been reported as “unrelated to the neck and shoulder problems he went through during the 2012 season,” and injuries certainly did affect his performance in 2012. After tearing up Triple-A Pawtucket for a few weeks after his return from injuries, he regressed to a .229/.272/.260 line in 2012. His power all but evaporated and Kalish was more or less an all-glove, no-hit outfielder with some speed– a player type the Red Sox had plenty of last year.
One of these players, Daniel Nava, is most impacted by the news of Kalish’s impending surgery. This likely means that Nava, rather than Kalish, will start the season as the Red Sox’ fourth outfielder and starting left fielder against right-handed starters. Nava batted .243/.320/.390 with solid defense in left, not exactly numbers one would like from a player likely to receive numerous plate appearances at a premium offensive position.
However, with Kalish out until after spring training, it’s their only choice. It’s looking more and more like Kalish will never become an effective player and many labeled 2013 as a make-or-break year for him. This injury will certainly impact that negatively, and with the signing of Shane Victorino and continued progress of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz, Kalish may have to find a new home before long.