Stability. The Boston Red Sox were not looking to change their left field platoon in 2014. Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes both played the Monster well last season and I don’t expect that to change this year. Here is our look at the left field position for the 2014 season:
The Red Sox use Daniel Nava as a left-handed platoon player with Jonny Gomes. He had a very good year hitting wise last season with a slash line of .303/.385/.445/.831 with 29 doubles and 12 home runs. There is no question Nava can hit and not just for average but with some pop as well.
The two knocks I have on Nava are that his base running is awful and must improve. He lacks awareness that at times is startling. Also, his defense is mediocre at best. He has no clear position that he excels at defensively.
Jonny Gomes is the right-handed platoon in Left field. I was disappointed in Jonny’s numbers last season compared to the previous year with Oakland. He went from a .868 OPS in 99 games to a .771 OPS with Boston in 116 games and from 18 home runs to 13 last year.
Defensively he can be a circus act at times. He makes some unbelievable grabs at times, then drops the more routine plays.
Jonny’s clear strengths are; he’s a leader, great clubhouse guy and he has a knack for hitting late or clutch home runs that propel his team to victory.
This platoon has an interesting identity. On one hand you have Nava, the mild-mannered contact hitter who has tremendous plate discipline and doesn’t make too many outstanding plays in the field. Then you have Gomes, who swings and misses at a high-rate, but has the swagger that helped make the team last season and loves to lay out in front of the Monster.
Nava has showed solid progression in his MLB career. His ability to get on base will keep him in the league for a few years and if he can remain a threat to be above league average in total bases, he could get a bigger payday than he ever expected. I happen to like his defense at home and on the road, as Nava covers a lot of ground and has an average arm. He isn’t going to make the flashy plays, but will never throw a game away with his defense.
Gomes can be better statistically. He should hit for a higher average this year and should get more doubles in this ballpark. What he does great is run the bases. I have never seen someone of his stature run so hard and take extra bases like Gomes does.
I am thrilled to see this platoon again this year. Both of these guys will help Jackie Bradley Jr. adjust to playing the outfield everyday in the majors.