Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Manny Ramirez and Brock Holt. The legendary lineage continues in left field for the Boston Red Sox. (Older Red Sox fans, feel free to pretend Gatah was on that list).
With Hanley Ramirez working hard at first base and Pablo Sandoval hitting pretty well in the spring (albeit he is a little banged up), Rusney Castillo’s inability to hit right-handed pitching (.566 OPS off them) was moved to the forefront of the Red Sox biggest issues. And the solution is simple: platoon.
Manager John Farrell told reporters today that Holt will be the team’s starting left fielder against right-handed pitchers. Certainly, it did not appear to be the case earlier in the spring. But Farrell may have realized at 28 years old, Castillo probably is not going to improve much against a split he struggles against.
Call Holt the starter or call him a platoon mate. It does not matter. The simple fact of the matter is right-handed pitching is 75 percent of the pitching in Major League Baseball, so finding someone who can hit it had to be a priority for Boston.
David Murphy has been a dark horse candidate to earn the starting job out there. But he was not on the 40-man roster, struggles mightily to hit left-handed pitching, plays subpar defense and threatened retirement if he did not make the team. Now, the Red Sox can see if he is a man of his word because they did not seem set on having him out there when they have so many players capable of playing out in left. And yes, that includes you, Hanley Ramirez.
Holt is bound to see some time in the infield as well this season. But with another young corner guy in Travis Shaw, odds are, it will be more in the middle infield – shortstop and second base.