Red Sox: Is this year’s outfield as good as ’75?

May 5, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox hall of famers Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski stand in left field as part of the pregame ceremony before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox hall of famers Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski stand in left field as part of the pregame ceremony before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /
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Left Field

Jim Rice

1975 marked Jim Rice’s first full season in the big leagues. He had a great rookie season. Throughout the year, he provided a substantial amount of power, hitting 5th in the order for most of the year. His slash lines were .309/.350/.491 to go along with 22 HR and 102 RBI. He also had 174 hits, 29 of which were doubles. Not bad for a rookie.

Defensively speaking Rice was average. He wasn’t a stud, but he wasn’t a liability. Rice finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting, losing to teammate Fred Lynn. He also finished 3rd in the MVP voting that year, again losing to Lynn and also John Mayberry.

Andrew Benintendi

Since Benintendi only played 34 games last year, I took his stats and averaged them out among 144 games – the same amount of games that Jim Rice played in ’75. He finished with a .295/.359/.476 slash line. His other stats project out as: 132 hits, 47 doubles, 9 HR, and 60 RBI.

Benintendi showed that he is a capable defender in left field, probably with more upside than Jim Rice. However, we haven’t truly seen if he can handle a full season of the Green Monster. Overall, he had a nice showing and is arguably the front-runner for Rookie of the Year this upcoming season.

Who’s better? – Jim Rice

Benintendi clearly has a lot of hype. After all, he did have a good audition last year, he was drafted 7th overall, and flew through the minor leagues because he was such a great hitter. However, I have to side with Jim Rice because we know exactly what he did and how well he played.

Had Fred Lynn not had a historic season, Rice would have won Rookie of the Year. Plus, Rice hit in the middle of the order the entire season. Benintendi has been eased into the fold, hitting primarily out of the 9th spot. In my opinion, there is too small of a sample size to even consider Benintendi as the better left fielder.