Red Sox bench will be critical to their success this season

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Chris Young

The Red Sox signed Young to a two-year, $13 million dollar deal this offseason.  Although he was signed as the team’s fourth outfielder behind Betts, Bradley and Castillo, fans should expect to see a lot of him and a lot of that has to do with the uncertainty surrounding Bradley and Castillo.

Young appeared in 140 games for the Yankees last season, batting .252 with 14 HRs and 42 RBIs.  In fact, he has hit double-digit HRs in nine straight seasons.  In addition to being insurance in case of an injury to one of the starting outfielders, and this is another reason why he is ranked number one on this list, Young is going to get a lot of at-bats because of his success against lefties, who he hit .327 with 7 HRs and 24 RBIs off of last season.

Castillo is set to start the season in right field and Bradley in left.  Young has played both positions his entire career.  Last year for the Yankees, he played 76 games in right and 55 games in left.  Therefore, he will be able to fill in for both corner outfielders, if necessary.

With Bradley, he has been healthy for most of his career.  Ultimately, after going back and forth between Pawtucket (AAA) and Boston last season multiple times, he played in 74 games for the Red Sox.  He batted .249 with 10 HRs and 43 RBIs.  However, but for an August that saw him hit .354, he struggled, as he has for most of his career when given the chance at the big league level.  Although everyone is excited about his offense in August of last season, he followed that up with a .216 September batting average.  Therefore, the jury is still out on whether Bradley will be able to produce enough offense to be an everyday player.  If he falters, Young will need to step in.

With Castillo, due to various injuries, he has been out of the lineup for most of his tenure with the Red Sox.  The uncertainty of when, if ever, that will change is likely what prompted Dombrowski to sign a player like Young.  In addition to the injury concerns, the Red Sox have to be worried about Castillo’s growth at the plate since arriving from Cuba, which has been non-existent for the most part.  Other than one impressive stretch last year between July and August, where he batted .338 over 23 starts, he has been overmatched by Major League pitching, resulting in the shortening of his swing this offseason. Given the fact he carries both injury and production concerns, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Young will need to step in for him at some point this season.

By virtue of Young’s splits against left-handed pitching, it is a certainty that he is going to be called upon by the Red Sox to win a lot of games this season.  Depending on the performance of Bradley and health and performance of Castillo, Young may be called upon to slide into the starting outfield.  As a result, he is by far the most important bench player on the 2016 Red Sox.

Next: Brock Holt