Jun 30, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts (50) makes a catch during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Middle Innings: Grading the Red Sox outfield

It has been a frustrating first half of the season for Red Sox fans. With the team still below .500 and trailing in the AL East and Wild Card races, the next couple of weeks will have a major impact on the state of the franchise through the end of the 2014 season and beyond. The BoSox Injection staff looks back at the first half of the season: from the young guys taking their first hacks, to the veterans who may have overextended their welcome.

Previously: Bullpen, Rotation

The outfield has been in flux this season. Will the return of Shane Victorino mark the beginning of some stability? Is flexibility actually a blessing in disguise? The whole of the Red Sox outfield is greater than its parts, since no one player has really had a break-out season, at least so far.

Daniel Nava – He’s batting .246 with 2 homers and 13 RBI. He’s been up and down from Pawtucket to Boston this season but may have finally earned a permanent spot, thanks to a .382 average in July with a .450 OBP and eight RBI. He has committed three errors in the outfield.

Shane Victorino – Has been on the DL multiple times this season. He’s played everywhere from Fenway to Single-A. It’s a small sample size, but in the last three games he has knocked three hits in seven at-bats. Could the veteran right fielder be on the mend for good this time?

Jackie Bradley Jr. – His batting average for the season is .231 but he’s hitting .375 in July with a .432 OBP. Has Bradley’s plate approach changed for the better?

Jonny Gomes – He may be batting only .238, but his tendency to hit home runs right when the Sox need him has endeared him to fans and players alike, so much so that his three errors in the field seem to go mostly unnoticed.

Brock Holt – If there’s a position that Brock can’t play, the Sox haven’t found it yet. He’s batting .326 at a time when the team needs all the offense they can get.

Mookie Betts – He’s one of the young guys that fans love to root for and the Sox may come to rely on in the future. Right now he’s batting only .235 but one must remember this is only over 34 at-bats. As the young player racks up more experience, he may show more of the character that led to him being a top prospect. Betts was recently demoted to Triple-A to make room for Victorino.

Overall grade: B-

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Brock Holt Jonny Gomes Shane Victorino

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