Last year in the MLB draft, the Boston Red Sox snagged two of the top power hitting first baseman available— Sam Travis and Josh Ockimey. While Travis established himself as a first baseman by playing well in the Cape Cod League and at Indiana, Ockimey was a little more unknown, drafted out of high school.
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Arguably possessing the best raw power tools in the Red Sox farm system, Boston swooped up Ockimey in the fifth round after hearing about his 420-foot home runs in high school while hitting from the left side of the plate.
A top recruit of Indiana University, Boston not only took away their star first baseman, but their first baseman of the future. Attending high school in Philadelphia, it makes sense why Josh Ockimey drew comparisons to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.
“I think I have always been considered a power hitter,” Ockimey told Yawkey Way Report. “Even throughout my little league and high school days.”
At 6-foot-3 230 pounds now, Ockimey has the frame of an excellent power hitter and could even stand to put on more weight over the years to build power.
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Playing high school baseball in the north, Ockimey was forced to make a huge jump to professional baseball when the Red Sox assigned him to the Gulf Coast League.
“The toughest part of the transfer from high school to professional baseball was realizing that it’s an ‘everyday job,'” Ockimey said reflecting on the season. “I mean that as that it is my profession I chose to ‘live it’. Also consistency— in order to move higher in the minor leagues you have to be more consistent in your game.”
Making the transition to the pros was challenging for Ockimey, like it is for many young talents who struggle at first. Hitting .188 this past summer, he did manage to draw 14 walks, showing the potential for plate discipline.
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The first year of professional ball is never easy for young prospects. For example, Bryce Brentz hit .198 in the Lowell Spinners back in 2010 and the next season, he hit 30 home runs. Typically, pro players fare much better in their second pro seasons. Putting in extra work in the off season allows them to compete at such an elite level.
“What I worked on most this off season was overall body strength and conditioning. Also, I worked on consistency in my swing.”
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For Ockimey, it is his bat that will carry him through the ranks of the Red Sox farm system. Possibly slated to begin the 2015 season in short-season Lowell, he will have a chance to prove himself there and Boston is confident that he could develop into an excellent big league power hitter down the road— if all goes according to plan.
“My goals this season are to improve my game offensively, defensively and mentally. Offensively by being more consistent with the bat, defensively by making more plays and being quicker around the bat and mentally by having a more experienced professional approach to the game.”