Do the Red Sox have enough in the outfield?
The Red Sox entered the offseason with all three outfield positions pretty much set after moving former left fielder, Hanley Ramirez to first base. The team’s plan is to have Rusney Castillo in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, and Mookie Betts in right. The Red Sox added Chris Young to the mix this offseason and with Brock Holt still on the roster, the team will have options if any of the projected starters struggle for an extended period of time. All three of the projected starters have upside, but only one has been able to prove it at the major league level. Last season, Mookie Betts had 18 home runs with 77 RBI’s while batting .291. Betts was great in his first full season and will look to build off of that in 2016. The other two, however, have been up and down in the major leagues and without a bigger sample size, will be hard to count on.
Castillo signed with the Red Sox at the end of the 2014 season and in 10 games that season batted .333 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s. He followed that up with a .256 average with 5 home runs and 26 RBI’s in 80 games in 2015. Castillo is 27 years old, so he still has time to prove himself as a good major league outfielder.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is in the same class as Castillo, in that he has been inconsistent in the major leagues. Bradley Jr.’s sample size is a bit larger, playing in parts of three seasons. Bradley’s numbers for the first two and a half seasons were very poor batting .189 in 2013, and .198 in 2014. He started 2015 again struggling, but then in the last two months of the season came out of nowhere and was hitting the ball all over the field. He finished 2015 with a .249 average which doesn’t sound great, but was a major improvement from the previous two seasons. Bradley Jr. is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, which probably gives him a little leeway if his hitting is not where it needs to be. If he can continue to hit the way he did at the end of 2015, he will be a great asset to have in the lineup.
The team goes into 2015 with some question marks and the outfield is one of them in my opinion. Although Betts has only been in the league for less than a year and a half, he played great last season and should continue to build off of that success. As for the other two, only time will tell if they can be productive everyday players the major leagues. Having a veteran like Chris Young should certainly help, but I believe they should have looked at acquiring a proven outfielder who can start and be consistent. Without that, they will have to rely on Bradley Jr. and Castillo to be productive on offense and defense.
All stats provided by Baseball-Reference
Colby Gatz covers the Boston Red Sox for MFST, and you can follow him on Twitter @bostonfan_15