The Red Sox very clearly have the most underrated outfield in all of MLB

Boston Red Sox v Cincinnati Reds
Boston Red Sox v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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By now, Boston Red Sox and MLB fans alike have seen Jarren Duran's impact on his squad. He's been the Red Sox outfield's biggest star, and the changes he's implemented since last season have turned him into one of the most elite outfielders in the American League, if not MLB.

But the players around him have also been stellar. Boston's outfield overall hasn't gotten enough love in All-Star voting and national media.

Rob Refsnyder is one of the Red Sox's most underrated players. The veteran has been a leader in the clubhouse and on the field since his season began in mid-April. He's one of the unsung heroes of the Red Sox's heavily injured stretch.

Refsnyder has taken on more of an everyday role for Boston. He's appeared in 47 games since he returned from injury in April, over halfway to his 2023 total of 89 games. Refsnyder's offense has played a bigger role in the Sox's game than anticipated — he's slashing .322/.406/.483 and carries a .889 OPS. He's started 33 games for Boston and reached base safely in 31 of them.

His road stats are borderline shocking, though. He's batting .380/.430/.646 with a 1.076 OPS away from Fenway Park. Only reigning National League batting champion Luis Arráez and Steven Kwan have better road averages over at least as many games as Refsnyder.

The Red Sox outfield deserves more credit, in All-Star voting and beyond

The Red Sox have two legitimate Rookie of the Year candidates in their pastures. Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela are each putting up standout years.

Abreu's bat has stalled since he returned to action from his ankle sprain, but he's been consistent at the plate overall in his rookie campaign. He's slashing .264/.333/.472 with six homers, and he became one of Boston's go-to power bats soon after Triston Casas' injury. His defense has also been excellent in one of the most difficult right fields in MLB. Abreu's logged two outs above average and his 98th percentile arm strength is a threat to all baserunners.

Rafaela's turnaround has rivaled the Red Sox's as a team. His defense has been high-quality for most of the year, but his bat is only recently catching up. He was slashing .200/.227/.354 on May 25 and he's up to .242/.271/.390 a month later.

Rafaela has made Jackie Bradley Jr.-esque plays in center field and he's played a quality shortstop when his team needs him there. The emergence of David Hamilton has sent him mostly back to the outfield, and the Red Sox are better for it. His constant diving plays, unparalleled defensive versatility and newly-hot bat have fans referring to him as "the human highlight reel."

Tyler O'Neill is also posting his best season since he earned National League MVP consideration in 2021. He's missed some time due to injuries, one was a freak accident, but he's been more consistent in terms of his health and quality of play this season than in the past.

The most underrated aspect of Boston's outfield is its versatility. Rafaela is the champion there — the rookie has played outstanding defense and learned on the fly while transitioning consistently from the infield to the outfield. Abreu has appeared in every outfield position this year, O'Neill and Refsnyder have split their playing time between left and right, and Duran left and center. They give Alex Cora the freedom to shuffle the lineup, and they can excel wherever they're placed.

Boston's outfield hasn't gotten the hype it deserves in All-Star voting or ROY conversations. Other American League outfielders like Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Kyle Tucker, Steven Kwan and other, frankly, less-deserving candidates have occupied the spotlight.

But the Red Sox have shown grit, athleticism and skill against some tough opponents as the midway point of the season nears, and their outfield has helped lead the charge.

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