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Josh Rutledge needs a bigger role

May 24, 2016

Not only is he returning from Saturn, but he seems to be flying closer and closer to the sun.

At 27 years old, Josh Rutledge is at the point of his Saturn return and man, oh man, have his numbers shown it.

So far this season, Rutledge has collected 13 hits in 35 at-bats (.371 batting average). And he owns a .979 OPS. In 58 career games with the Sox too, he is a .312 hitter. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Just looking at them, you might think Josh Rutledge is Brock Holt. He has the flow and he is kind of like Holt in that he wasn’t really perceived to be a huge addition to the team. It was better than nothing because the Red Sox were going to have to trade Shane Victorino anyways. Rutledge was in Triple-A that year and with the Colorado Rockies the year before that. His numbers didn’t really stand out for the Rockies – and he was playing at Coors Field.

Rutledge has that versatility going on too: playing second base, shortstop and third base. But no offense too him, he really shouldn’t be playing third base. He owns an .853 fielding percentage in 21 career big league games at the position. That’s like borderline Mauro Gomez right there. Yeah, that’s right, a Mauro Gomez name drop.

As a right-handed bat, Rutledge hasn’t been a lefty killer throughout his career or anything like that. He’s not bad against either split. But being “not bad” against lefties can be a valuable trait. After all, left-handed Travis Shaw was having some trouble with lefties to start the season.  Think about it: the Mayor of Ding Dong City shouldn’t have to work weekends if he doesn’t want to.

Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia play his better two positions, so it is honestly kind of a shock that the Sox have yet to introduce Rutledge to a little place they like to call left field. Blake Swihart is sound enough there defensively at the moment to fill in, but he was not hitting particularly well in the minors because his focus was on defense.

Also, maybe Rutledge could play third base, Shaw could play left and Hanley Ramirez could take his rightful spot in left field. But if a ball went to the left side of the field, the Sox would be done for.

Final thought: maybe some Rutledge at third, Shaw in left and leave Hanley alone.

Yep. That’s a dude.

Technically, you could put Rutledge anywhere: it’s just a matter of how well he would play the position. Hard to imagine left field would be as hard for him as third base.


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