Red Sox: What outfielder Rajai Davis brings to the table

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 05: Rajai Davis
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 05: Rajai Davis /
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NEW YORK, NY – JULY 21: Rajai Davis (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 21: Rajai Davis (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /


Davis has started to decline a bit in the field with age, but he’s still about average defensively.

He’ll primarily patrol center field while Bradley is sidelined, which is the position he’s played for the majority of his career. He’s certainly comfortable in that role, even if he’s not nearly the defender that Bradley is. Red Sox fans are a bit spoiled by watching the wizardry of Bradley’s glove. Davis is an adequate fill in, just don’t expect the highlight reel plays that JBJ makes look routine.

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Davis has -1 defensive runs saved as an outfielder this season, putting him slightly below average. He’s only committed two errors, posting a .988 fielding percentage that ranks 9th in the AL among center fielders who have played at least 75 games. His five outfield assists are sixth most in the league at the position, one spot ahead of Bradley. Granted, most opposing runners have learned not to run on JBJ at this point, limiting his opportunities. Still, Davis still has the arm to gun down runners trying to take an extra base.

His -2.8 UZR ranks last in the league among outfielders (minimum 600 innings). That’s somewhat concerning, although Fenway’s outfield doesn’t have as much ground to cover as other ballparks. Davis will also be protected by playing beside Mookie Betts, whose 22.2 UZR is double that of the next closest outfielder.

When Bradley returns, Davis can still be utilized as a backup for all three outfield positions. While center may be his preferred spot, Davis has well over 100 career games at all three outfield spots.