Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Boston Is "Riding The Nava Wave"

This week in Dead Red: Tim Wakefield passed a milestone, Dustin Pedroia is hitting again, the Sox unveiled a statue of Red Sox legends outside Fenway Park, and Sox catcher Victor Martinez remained hot at the plate. But first, following in the footsteps of Darnell “Mac” McDonald, another Triple-A call-up made an unexpected but explosive debut over the weekend.

I say Daniel Nava. You say, "who?" Here’s a kid who was told he’d never make it to pro ball. He was cut as a walk-on from his original college team at Santa Clara University, then resorted to being the team’s equipment manager. After graduation, he went undrafted and still trying to live the dream, played with the Chico Outlaws from the independent Golden Baseball League. He was cut after a tryout but then later made it to fill a roster spot.

In 2007, after finally getting a chance to play, he batted .371, hit 12 homers and had a whopping 1.100 OPS. This earned him the distinction of being named the independent league’s #1 prospect as rated by Baseball America. Seeing that, Red Sox assistant director of professional scouting Jared Porter signed him for a $1 with the promise to pay the Outlaws $1,500 if the Sox kept him after spring training in 2008.

In his short, four-year minor and independent league career, the 27-year-old switch-hitter (and natural lefty with good patience at the plate) batted .342 and hit well everywhere the Sox organization sent him, most recently in Pawtucket where he was hitting .294, with a .364 OBP, 8 HR and 38 RBI. And with Adrian Beltre not only rupturing opposing pitching but crushing teammates’ ribs (via freak on-field collisions, first Jacoby Ellsbury and now Jeremy Hermida, who is on the DL until late June), Francona needed to call up an (unknown) outfielder from the PawSox, and Nava was the lucky one to get that call over this past weekend.

For full post of this week's column at Blogcritics Magazine (where it was first posted earlier tonight), please click and read here.

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