A Red Sox free-agent steal
When discussing strikeouts and Dalbec, I arrive at my next possible choice with outfielder Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe’s 2020 season was one in which you may select a negative adjective and would be understating his season. A 77 wRC+, 26.6 K% and .156 batting average. Why Tampa Bay played Renfroe is his one specific talent – the home run. Eight in 139 plate appearances, but not enough overall talent to be retained.
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Boston is paying Renfroe $3.1 million for 2021. A risky venture considering Renfroe is a career .228 hitter. The enticement (again) is his unique talent at providing souvenirs to those enjoying the game in the outfield stands. With the Padres from 2017-2019, Renfroe hit 85 dingers. Maybe Chaim Bloom was present in August when Renfroe put two out of Fenway Park?
Renfroe hits lefties (.258) at a better pace than right-handers (.216). No surprise for a free-swinging right-hand hitter. Based on that and the Red Sox stockpile of versatility, Renfroe could be in a Jonny Gomes situation. When you think Gomes, you think pinch-hit home run and Renfroe has five in his career along with a sturdy .293 average in just 47 plate appearances. Clutch pinch-hits can establish a career.
Renfroe may be assigned defensively to the critical right field position at Fenway Park. Metrics-wise what jumps out is 2019 when Renfroe was with the Friars. A 21.7 UZR/150 and 12 defensive runs saved in 504.2 innings. Reports are Renfroe is a solid defensive player with an excellent arm.
To rise to prominence in this discussion Renfroe – like Dalbec – need to improve his contact. At 29-years-old and five MLB seasons what you see is what you get, but occasionally a player will get hot or lucky for an entire season. With arbitration looming a quality season will be potentially rewarding.