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The Potential of Josh Ockimey

He’s had an impressive May in Portland.

Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Josh Ockimey was a fifth round pick from Philadelphia, a city not known for its amateur baseball talent. Still, he has been putting up big numbers of late in AA Portland. Ockimey is among the top 10 Red Sox prospects on just about every list, and coaches and scouts alike have raved about his raw power. After a poor April to start the season and a delayed start due to injury, Ockimey has produced an impressive slash line of .290/.415/.520 for the month of May. At 22 years old, it seems as if he may be finally beginning to convert that raw power into game power. Ockimey’s isolated power (SLG-AVG) during May is at .230, which would be a career best during his minor league career.

A quick look at an Ockimey at-bat shows his extremely smooth swing, as well as an uppercut he uses to contribute to his power.

Gif taken from this video.

This swing not only contributes power, but also the ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field. Ockimey’s pull rate currently sits at 43.2%, and he has hit the ball to center and to the opposite field at rates of 29.6% and 27.3%, respectively. His knack for hitting the ball to the opposite field mirrors that of Rafael Devers, with Ockimey tending to hit the ball to centerfield slightly more. This talent is especially useful for left-handed Red Sox hitters, who have the opportunity to use the Green Monster to their advantage, just as Devers has done so far in his career. As we’ve seen from the young third baseman, hitters are often at their best when they’re taking advantage of the Monster. For reference, here is a comparison of both Ockimey and Devers hitting home runs to left center.

Gif taken from this video.

Gif taken from this video.

The similarity is uncanny. Both hitters have an open stance, the same ‘load’ in their swing, as well as very similar bat paths. If Ockimey can continue be a similar hitter to Devers, he will most certainly do damage in a Sox uniform.

Due to Ockimey’s recent hitting and impressive swing, it seems he is bound to continue his progress towards the big leagues. However, Ockimey could be selected in the Rule 5 draft this coming winter. The Red Sox must add him to their 40-man roster before this draft for him to remain in Boston. In addition, because he plays first base, there is hardly any room for error with the bat. If Ockimey does end up making the Red Sox, he seems destined to be a 1B/DH type player, and would be used similar to how Hanley Ramirez was used over the past couple years. Having a lack of versatility is not a good position to be in as a minor leaguer, but the hope is that Ockimey continues his power surge, improves his defense, and becomes his own prototype of Devers in order to pose a significant threat as the elusive Red Sox first basemen of the future.