Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Friday, July 28, 2006

FIRST BASEMAN MAY BE PART OF SOX PLANS

At 6'5" and 250 pounds, young Colorado first baseman Ryan Shealy is huge.

But Shealy hasn't had much time to impress in the big leagues. Last year he played in only 36 games, but got 30 hits in just 91 at bats for a .330 average. Though he hit just two home runs, the Red Sox think he has genuine power potential.

So far this season, Shealy has appeared in just five games for the Rockies, notching two hits - both doubles.

But here's why the Sox see so much upside; last year, in his first season above Double-A, Shealy hit .329 (165-for-502) with 28 home runs and 104 RBI in 144 games in the Colorado farm system. Shealy also proved himself to be sure-handed at first, committing no errors in 163 chances.

The right-handed slugger lead his Triple A team in home runs, RBI, doubles (30), and runs (85), tied for club lead in walks (41), and also sported an eye-popping .601 slugging percentage. Those gaudy numbers earned him Triple A All Star honors.

All things considered, it's no wonder the 26-year-old has garnered the interest of not only the Red Sox, but also Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore, Toronto and Anaheim, as well.

Why would the Rockies be willing to part with a player of such potential? One simple reason; Todd Helton.

Where Shealy fits into the equation for the Sox this season is uncertain. He could be a back up to first baseman Kevin Youkilis, providing the occasional break. Or, he could allow Youkilis to shift to third, giving Mike Lowell a well deserved rest from time to time.

But the Sox are probably thinking more long term with Shealy, despite the fact that he turns 27 next month. Mike Lowell has only one more year on his current $9 million per year contract, and moving Youkilis back to his natural third base position may be part of the team's agenda for 2008.

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