Three of the very best outfielders in Red Sox history
Carl Yastrzemski was the best defensive left fielder I have ever seen. A former infielder who adapted that skill to an ability to charge a ball and rifle a throw. Yaz won seven Gold Gloves between 1963 and 1977. Offensively, there are three batting titles, an MVP award, and 3,419 career hits.
Mookie Betts may be gone but he is still collecting hardware, earning his fifth Gold Glove in his first season as a Dodger. Betts captured four with the Red Sox and with a tough right field at Fenway Park you get extra points. Another converted infielder who made the transition to outfield seamlessly. Offensively, all of Red Sox Nation knows about that.
My third defensive outfielders could easily be Jim Piersall or legendary Tris Speaker but I’ll take Dwight Evans. Evans racked up eight Gold Gloves in his 20-year career and his trademark was his arm. Right up with Roberto Clemente, Carl Furillo, and Rocky Colavito. Offensively, you could make a case for Evans to be in the HOF.
Manny being Manny describes Manny Ramirez who didn’t play left field as much as left-field played him. Some of Manny’s negative metrics are staggering, but geez could Manny hit.
Next, up on the defensive buffoonery is Hanley Ramirez, but is Hanley to blame? Ramirez came up with the Red Sox as a shortstop before being traded to Miami and later with the Dodgers before signing a free-agent contract with Boston. Ramirez was sent to play left field in 2015 and it was an embarrassment with a -21.7 UZR/150. The Red Sox in a moment of organizational clarity moved Ramirez to first base in 2016.
If you can hit home runs, poor defense can be excused, but Wily Mo Pena would have to have triple-digit home runs to justify his center field defense. Pena was large but rather swift, but being swift does not make one a capable ball-hawk. Pena had a -15.2 UZR/150 in 2006 and outdid that with a -26.8 UZR/150 in 2007. Tack on a -13 DRS over those two seasons and you have the bad news.