The Boston Red Sox promoted rookie outfielder Ryan LaMarre to the majors this week. He's received just one at-bat so far, a strikeout against the Chicago White Sox in yesterday's game. A product of the Cincinnati Reds system, he got 25 at-bats in the majors last year with the Reds in 21 games, collecting two hits against nine strikeouts. Does he have any chance to get beyond pinch-hitting status?
LaMarre played college baseball at the University of Michigan, hitting .356/.439/.557 over three seasons with 20 homers and 28 steals in 481 at-bats. This power/speed combo got him drafted in the second round by the Reds in 2010. His production in their system was consistent and steady but not outstanding: he hit .275/.343/.373 in 472 at-bats in High-A, then .255/.343/.362 in 948 at-bats over parts of three seasons in Double-A. Triple-A resulted in a .257/.307/.400 line last season. He became a minor league free agent and signed with Red Sox over the winter.
The switch in organizations seemed to wake up his bat: he was hitting .313/.384/.475 with six homers and 11 steals in 160 at-bats for Triple-A Pawtucket before his promotion this week.
LaMarre is a right-handed hitter and left-handed thrower (an atypical combination and one that is a caution flag for scouts), born November 21, 1988. He has solid physical tools which kept him employed even when his production was so-so, notably above-average running speed and strong defensive instincts. His arm is good enough for right field and he does a fine job in center, where he's spent the majority of his playing career.
There's raw power in the bat and he is not a strict pull hitter, but he's never gotten to the power consistently for more than a few weeks at a time. He's also had issues controlling the strike zone since reaching Triple-A, though he's been a bit more selective this year. Contact has eluded him in the majors but with just 26 at-bats spread over 22 games he hasn't had much of an opportunity to get into a rhythm and make adjutsments.
Overall, LaMarre's best attribute is his glove, making him a potential fifth outfielder/26th man.