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2018 Red Sox top prospect voting: Josh Ockimey rounds out the top ten

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The first base prospect is heading into a big year

Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

After a handful of excruciatingly close votes in the second half of our top ten, we reach the ten spot with a bonafide blowout. Josh Ockimey had been incredibly close in the last two votes, and finally the competition opened up enough for the first base prospect to runaway with the vote from the get go and never really get another challenger presented to him. Ockimey is number ten.

Ockimey was drafted by the Red Sox back in 2014 in the fifth round out of Neumann-Goretti high school in Pennsylvania, and he eventually signed an above-slot $450,000 signing bonus. After joining the organization, the Red Sox immediately put him in the GCL to finish off the summer, and he struggled mightily with a .524 OPS over 112 plate appearances. It was a disappointing debut, but not wholly unexpected for a high school player adjusting to pro ball. He’d come back in 2015 in Lowell and was much more impressive with a .771 OPS that season. Ockimey continued going one level at a time for 2016, making his full-season debut that season in Greenville where he put up a .789 OPS. He had shown solid progression through his professional career, but Ockimey still hadn’t made good on his full potential at the plate and was looking for a real breakout heading into 2017.

As he entered his age-21 season, the Red Sox continued to promote the first baseman one level at a time. Starting the year in High-A Salem, he put together one of his best runs at the plate as a pro. He played in 100 games with Salem and was massively impressive hitting .275/.388/.438. It was easily the most well-rounded we had seen him at the plate to that point in his career. That performance was good enough that he got a surprise promotion to Portland, marking the first time he played at two levels in the same season. The jump from High-A to Double-A is a challenging one, and it was even more challenging as a new kind of experience in changing teams in the middle of a season. Ockimey saw a dropoff in his performance, but not by nearly as much as one would think. In just 31 games with the SeaDogs, he hit .272/.372/.427.

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

As far as the scouting report go, Ockimey is a really interesting case. There are a few things that really stand out when you look at his numbers, and the scouting reports back it up. For one thing, he is incredibly patient and regularly walks at an obscene rate. The issue here is that it’s possible this could be a detriment as he climbs the ladder and pitchers become more advanced. We’ll have to see if he’s willing to jump on strikes rather than being patient to a fault. He also strikes out a ton even with some improvement in that area, and it’s hard to see him ever eliminating the swing and miss from his game. The real wildcard is his power. Ockimey looks like an imposing hitter when you see him in person and he shows off big power in batting practice. However, he has yet to really translate that into games to this point. We’re reaching the Sam Travis area where he really has to start showing that power in games before we need to stop laying off talking about that potential so much. Defensively, Ockimey is a first base-only player and he’s not even great there, though it’s not hard to see him being at least playable at the position. That profile puts even more profile on the power, though.

Looking ahead to 2017, it’s a big season for Ockimey on a team that is starting to fill up with first base/DH players. With Michael Chavis’ emergence, Ockimey is no longer next in line after Travis and needs a big year to stay on the map. He’ll almost certainly start the year in Portland and should spend most of his time there, though it’s not hard to see him ending up in Pawtucket at some point if he plays well and enough players above him get hurt and/or play well enough to earn a promotion. Where ever he is, though, all of the focus will be on his in-game power.

Here’s our list so far:

  1. Jason Groome
  2. Michael Chavis
  3. Tanner Houck
  4. Bryan Mata
  5. Jalen Beeks
  6. Alex Scherff
  7. Sam Travis
  8. Mike Shawaryn
  9. Josh Ockimey

Now, we move on to the eleventh spot on our list. As always, head down into the comments and “rec” the comment corresponding the player for whom you’d like to vote. Make sure you’re a member of the blog before you do so of course. Additionally, if there is a player you’d like to vote for who is not listed, leave a comment of your own saying “Vote for Player X here”. That comment will count as his first vote. For more information on this system, scroll to the bottom of this post. Until next time...