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Ryan Kalish

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Ryan Michael Kalish

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Outfielder Ryan Kalish made his big league debut at age 22.

Kalish was picked by the Boston Red Sox in the 9th round of the 2006 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Ray Fagnant and split that summer between the GCL Red Sox (6 for 20, BB, 2 2B, HR) and Lowell Spinners (7 for 35, 2 BB, 14 K, 3B). In 2007, he hit .368/.471/.540 with 18 steals in 21 tries and 27 runs in 23 games before a season-ending injury. He had been leading the New York-Penn League in runs and steals at the time. Baseball America ranked him as the #6 prospect in both the Red Sox chain and the New York-Penn League (between Jordan Zimmermann and J.P. Arencibia and the top-rated position player.

In 2008, Ryan stole 19 bases in 23 attempts while playing for the Greenville Drive (.281/.376/.356) and Lancaster JetHawks (.233/.305/.397). He batted .282 for the North Shore Honu in the Hawaii Winter League, while leading the loop with 13 steals. Despite a decline from the prior year, Baseball America still rated him Boston's #13 prospect

Kalish was named Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2009. He batted .304/.434/.513 for the Salem Red Sox and .271/.341/.440 for the Portland Sea Dogs. He led Boston minor leaguers in runs (84), walks (68) and total bases (231) while his 18 homers were second to Ryan Lavarnway's 21. He hit .301 with 15 RBI in 21 games that fall for the Mesa Solar Sox. Baseball America called him the Carolina League's #9 prospect (between Mike Moustakas and Danny Espinosa) and #5 in the Boston organization.

Ryan rose through the ranks in 2010. Starting strong with Portland (.293/.404/.527, 13 SB in 14 tries, 8 HR, 35 R in 41 G), he moved up to the Pawtucket Red Sox, where he batted .294/.356/.476 with 5 homers and 12 steals in 14 attempts over 37 games. He was then called up to the majors to replace Jeremy Hermida. In his first game in The Show, he hit 8th for the Red Sox and started in left field. He singled off Max Scherzer in his first at-bat then ground into a double play the next time up. In his third at-bat, Kalish singled in Adrian Beltre while facing reliever Brad Thomas. He scored on a Darnell McDonald double. In his last trip to the plate that day, he struck out against Ryan Perry but had put together a respectable intro to the big leagues.

He started his big league career 8 for 16. He hit his first major league homer on August 6th at New Yankee Stadium, off the New York Yankees' Javier Vazquez. He ended up playing 53 games for Boston, hitting .252/.305/.405, spending most of his time in centerfield. With Jacoby Ellsbury coming back from an injury to start in center in 2011, Kalish was back in the minors. He started the year back in Pawtucket, but in late April suffered a collision in the outfield in which he sprained his right shoulder and partially tore his labrum. He was out of action until August, when he played a couple of rehab games for Lowell and a few more with Pawtucket, but was then shut down by the need to undergo surgery, first on his neck, and then in November on his shoulder. As a result, he hit .209 in 22 games in AAA and went 3 for 6 in Lowell in what was a lost season. Worst, the off-season surgery meant that he would also miss the start of 2012.

Kalish returned to the playing field in May of 2012, making brief three-game stints in Class A and AA before being assigned again to Pawtucket. He hit .261 with 4 homers in 27 games for the PawSox and was called up by the Red Sox for three separate stints, first from mid-June to the All-Star break, then in early August, and finally from the last days of September to the end of the season. With Boston, he played 36 games, hitting .229 in 96 at-bats. It was basically a lost year when, had he been fully healthy, he could have helped the struggling Red Sox. Worse, it was announced in the following off-season that he now required surgery on his other shoulder, meaning that the start of his 2013 season would also be delayed.

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