Critics have given Red Sox boss Dave Dombrowski plenty of flak over the last few years for basically trading away all the key components of the franchise’s farm system in order to prioritize winning now.
Well, the Sox are not only winning right now at a record clip – they also have young superstars contributing to this success right now. Who needs a farm system when you already have young guns killing it at the major league level?
Boston has been blessed with great outfields in its storied baseball history, but the trio of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr just might take the cake as the franchise’s best outfield ever. The trio of Fred Lynn, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans were phenomenal 40 years ago, but even those legends are starting to bow down to the current crop.
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“These kids are tremendous. Best outfield we’ve had in a long time,” Evans told ESPN last year. “I never like to compare because these guys might be better than us. It’s even more rewarding when you know they came out of your system. You’ll see them do some great things. You’ll see them do some things that hopefully they learn and get better from. There’s really no telling what they can do.”
In this most recent dominant stretch at Fenway, which included a four-game sweep of the rival Yankees, all facets of the Sox’ loaded outfield were on display. Bradley had yet another highlight reel catch on July 29 against the Twins when he tracked down a scorcher to center field. According to Statcast, Bradley traveled 78 feet in 4.4 seconds before diving, catching the ball, and crashing into the Green Monster.
Bradley seems like a lock to win a Gold Glove in center as he’s been making highlight reel catches on a near-nightly basis this season.
Betts, of course, is an MVP candidate and was his sensational self in the Yankees series – playing second base for a spell when Ian Kinsler went down and amassing seven hits in the four-game set. In the wild 15-7 Thursday night win over New York, Betts had four hits, and in the Sunday night series finale he had a pair of hits, including a solo homer.
Benintendi has also had an outstanding year at the plate overall as he is hitting .302 on the season with 14 homers and 66 RBIs. He also had the biggest hit of his young career Sunday night (well, Monday morning) when he singled to center off of Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder in the 10th inning to score Tony Renda in a walk-off Red Sox win.
The best part of all? All of them – Bradley, Betts and Benintendi - are 28 or younger.
Who needs a farm system?