With Opening Day almost upon us, many questions still remain unanswered for the 2021 Boston Red Sox.
Many of these question marks will be erased when the Sox finally take the field, with one of the biggest being what Boston’s outfield will look like. After several departures and changes in the past, the Red Sox will be putting together a new look outfield with a solid amount of options to fill these spots.
Here is the 2021 Red Sox outfield overview:
Verdugo, known for coming over in the Mookie Betts trade, made his Sox debut in 2020’s shortened season. In a season of downs, Alex was one of the few bright spots last year. Verdugo hit .308 with a .844 OPS while also providing a spark in the field and lineup. “Dugie” is known for his high energy, as he commented multiple times on being eager to have fans back in Fenway. Turning 25 in May, Verdugo has a lot of upside and has a chance to show it in his first full season in Boston.
Being one of the bigger signings of the offseason, Hunter Renfroe could burst onto the Boston scene. Renfroe made a name for himself in San Diego before heading to Tampa Bay in 2020. Hunter has shown off the power in his arsenal, hitting 33 home runs in 2019 for the Padres. Besides the homers, Renfroe’s numbers don’t really jump off the page. Consistency will be key for him to keep his spot in the order to make up for his subpar defense.
An asterisk should go on JD’s name when put on a list of outfielders. Known for his role as a DH, Martinez has barely seen the field during his time in Boston. Now in 2021, Boston’s melting pot of a roster could lead to Martinez seeing more time playing defense. It’s not the ideal move, but it is a big possibility in this upcoming season.
Signed for depth and his versatility, Gonzalez could be a much needed handyman for the defensive holes in the Sox’s outfield. A solid hitter that has already smashed some Home Runs in Spring Training can also play almost anywhere in the field. After a spotty tenure in Minnesota, Gonzalez looks to bounce back in his new home. (Kike Hernández could also see time in the outfield, being another versatility guy)
For only being known as the return for Andrew Benintendi, Cordero brings up the most question marks in the outfield. For being injured through most of his career, Franchy could finally show off his full potential for the Sox. Although due to a crowded roster and injury issues in Spring Training, Cordero’s time to shine for Boston might not come in 2021.
Opening Day Prediction: Gonzalez, Verdugo, Renfroe
With plenty of cards in their hand, I think Alex Cora will put out a conservative combination in the outfield for Opening Day. Verdugo and Renfroe will most likely be everyday starters throughout the year with Gonzalez’s consistent defense earning him more time in the lineup.
With the big three of Betts, Benintendi, and Bradley Jr. now all gone, the 2021 season will mark the dawn of a new era for Boston’s outfield.