What would you think of a 23-year-old kid who skipped Double-A and batted .290 with a .477 slugging percentage in his first taste of Triple-A action.
Sounds like a pretty good prospect right?
I think it’s time to introduce you to outfielder Ronald Bermudez.
(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
In early May after injuries to Ryan Kalish, J.C. Linares and Yamaico Navarro, the PawSox needed a healthy body for what figured to be a short stay in Triple-A. Rather than disrupt a more highly-touted prospect that early in the season, Boston moved Bermudez from High-A Salem to Pawtucket, even though Ronald was only hitting .194 (6-for-31) in 9 games in the Carolina League.
“He wasn’t supposed to be here – he came up as a replacement for all of the injured players that we had,” said PawSox hitting coach Chili Davis. “The book on him was that he was a good defensive outfielder, but don’t expect too much offense from him.”
“I only expected to be here for a couple of weeks, but I never talked about it,” Bermudez told me. “I just tried to come here and do my job. I’ve tried to work with Chili, and every time that I get the opportunity to play, I try to play hard.”
Bermudez looked completely overmatched in his first five games with Pawtucket going 0-for-17, but since then he’s produced the statistics that I referenced earlier – a .290 batting average (31-for-107) with 12 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 HR in 35 games.
“He’s a big, strong, kid that’s never really hit on a consistent basis in the minor leagues, but we’ve given him a chance to play and he’s made the best of it,” said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. “He’s a spark on this team because we can put him near the bottom of the order and he can drive the ball. You have to respect the pop that he has and he’s done a really nice job of taking advantage of an opportunity.”
“What I love about him is that he has really good bat speed,” said Davis. “He just needed to be more fluid with his swing. He takes good rips and when he makes contract, he’s going to hit the ball hard somewhere. If he doesn’t chase pitches down and out of the zone, he’s going to hit the ball hard.”
Bermudez is in his 6th year in the Red Sox organization after being signed as an international free agent from Venezuela when he was 17 years old. He led the Dominican Summer League with a .349 average in his 2nd professional season (2007), and was a South Atlantic League All-Star last year when he batted .281 with 28 doubles, 3 triples, and 10 HR in 95 games with Greenville.
But Ronald entered the season with a career .270 minor league batting average (.338 OBP, .394 SLG, .732 OPS) and is not currently listed among Boston’s Top 60 prospects by Soxprospects.com.
“I don’t really care if I’ve opened any eyes or not, I just want to play well for the team,” Bermudez said. “I always ask Arnie and Chili what I can do to be the best player that I can be. I want to stay here all season and I’m trying to play well every day so that they’ll keep me here.”
“He’s a great kid,” said Chili Davis. “He’s very respectful, he comes in to work, he keeps his mouth shut, and he soaks up information. He and Jose Iglesias have that ability to retain information. When you tell him something, it soaks in and they use it.
“He’s a worker. He came here from A-ball and I think he’s doing a pretty damn good job up here in Triple-A.”
* * * * *
The PawSox will send Felix Doubront to the mound as they look to pull within 2 games of first-place LehighValley as they host the IronPigs on Tuesday night at 7:05. I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.
If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard
And I have finally joined Facebook. Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.