By Brian Maloney
Part three of examining the Boston Red Sox 2011 season continues on Noontime Sports. Below, we break down the outfield, as well as talk about a few prospects that fans could possibly see this season, but that would occur if the starters and reserves suffered serious injuries.
The Red Sox have finally found the long-term solution in leftfield to replace Manny Ramirez and the answer is former Tampa Bay Rays, Carl Crawford who was brought in during the offseason to fill the void, as well as provide a tremendous upgrade defensively in front of the Green Monster. Crawford will be in leftfield every day and will an important part of the Red Sox lineup.
Jacoby Ellsbury moves back to centerfield where he truly belongs. He has the both the “wheels” for the field, as well as the base path, but also, the ability to produce at the plate.
The overrated and underappreciated J.D. Drew is the everyday option in right field. When healthy, Drew is amongst the best hitters in the league. However, it has been years since he has gone a complete season without some sort of injury, but will he remain completely healthy this season?
Both Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald have shown the ability to play all three positions, although Cameron does not have the defensive range that he once did, but he can still fill in admirably. Cameron may also seem to be the long-term replacement in the outfield, but with McDonald filling in for the day-to-day jobs, the Sox seem completely covered at all three positions.
Pawtucket will be home to a trio of outfielders who are either major league ready or a strong opening month away from being ready: Daniel Nava, Josh Reddick, and Ryan Kalish. All three are probably destined for corner outfield spots at Fenway Park.
Fans should make sure to recognize the names, Juan Carlos Linares and Bubba Bell, who would only see action in Boston if a majority of their players and top prospects sustain serious injuries.
Hector Luna and Aaron Bates are both previously talked about in the infield, but could play a reasonable corner outfield position in an emergency situation.
Starter- Carl Crawford (LF), Jacoby Ellsbury (CF) and J.D. Drew (RF)
Backup(s): Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald
40-Man Roster: Josh Reddick, Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava
Hot Prospect(s)- Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick