Minors: Ryan Lavarnway profile, top 11 

August, 18, 2011
Rumor has it the Red Sox will promote catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway to the big leagues soon, maybe even by the time you read this. David Ortiz's battle with bursitis in his heel, along with some other injuries on the roster, could create an opportunity, and Lavarnway was pulled from his Triple-A game Wednesday in preparation for a call-up.

"I have no doubt he could go up [to the majors] and handle it offensively with his approach and swing," Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen told WEEI's Alex Speier recently.

A sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft out of Yale, Lavarnway put up consecutive 20-homer seasons in the minors in 2009 and 2010, with 102 RBIs in 2010 between high-Class A and Double-A. This season, he already has hit 30 homers between Double-A and Triple-A while posting a .372 on-base percentage.

I got to see a lot of Lavarnway in last year's Arizona Fall League and for one series this season. I like that he generates pop with a small load and a short stroke for a power hitter. That helps compensate for his lack of good bat speed. He has power to all fields and has gotten less pull-happy this season thanks to more consistent leverage, getting both halves of his body in better sync with each other. (At times last year, I saw his timing was off because of his weight shift.) Another positive is he can make decent contact with solid knowledge of the strike zone.