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2017 Red Sox top prospect voting: Josh Ockimey looks to repeat last year’s first half

Josh Ockimey starts the second half of the top 20.

Photo Credit: Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

The second half of our list came down to the wire, as once again I was able to narrowly avoid figuring out how to break a tie. Josh Ockimey took an even 25 percent of the vote to take home the 11th spot in our rankings.

Ockimey was selected as a high school first baseman by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. After signing for $450,000 he was placed in the Gulf Coast League for his first pro season the same year he was drafted. It...did not go well. He hit just .188/.292/.232 in 130 plate appearances in an extremely unimpressive debut. Of course, as a high school bat who was not used to playing so deep into the year and was playing against advanced competition, it could be brushed aside. He was placed in short-season Lowell in 2015 and fared much better. While he didn’t blow anyone away, his .266/.349/.422 performance in 229 plate appearances was enough to earn him a promotion to full-season ball for the 2016 season.

That full-season debut was certainly an interesting one for Ockimey, as he showed all of the pros and cons of his game. For the first couple months of the year, it looked like he was taking The Step forward. When we woke up on June 2, the first baseman was hitting .315/.456/.568 against Low-A competition as a 20-year-old. He was poised to shoot up organizational rankings. Then, the rest of the season happened. For the rest of the season, he hit just .167/.305/.331. His main issue was strikeouts, as he was set down in 27 percent of the time during that stretch and 26 percent over the full season. This came after striking out a whopping 34 percent of the time in Lowell.

The scouting reports foresaw these kind of issues for Ockimey, unfortunately. The good news is, according to Sox Prospects at least, that he cut down on the swing and miss in his game significantly in his first full season. He’ll never cut it out of his game completely, but if he can manage it to a respectable level it won’t hurt him too bad. He also has a good eye for the plate, which was shown off in a big way by walking more than 17 percent of the time in 2016. The carrying tool, though, is the power. The raw power is legit in this bat, and when he connects he can hit moonshots. It’s up to the hit tool whether or not the power will play to its full potential, but the sky is the limit in that regard. The bat will have to play to near-maximum potential, though, as he’s first base only and not all that great there.

Despite the second-half struggles in Greenville, it’s probable that the Red Sox will give Ockimey the chance to start the year at High-A Salem. He’ll have some things to work on, but at just 21-years-old he still has plenty of time to make good. His lack of defense and athleticism limits his ceiling, but if he can cut down on the swing and miss and find a way to work some more singles into his game, there’s a major-league bat somewhere in here.

  1. Andrew Benintendi
  2. Rafael Devers
  3. Jason Groome
  4. Sam Travis
  5. Bobby Dalbec
  6. Brian Johnson
  7. Marco Hernandez
  8. Roniel Raudes
  9. Michael Chavis
  10. C.J. Chatham
  11. Josh Ockimey

As always, you can cast your vote for the next spot below.