By Tommy Rancel //
The Boston Red Sox’ attempt at improved run prevention has been put on hold temporarily – at least in the outfield. On Tuesday, the team placed outfielders Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list. Cameron suffered an abdominal tear, while Ellsbury has been slow to recover from bruised ribs. The Ellsbury move is retroactive to April 12, meaning he will be eligible to come back next Tuesday.
In the interim, Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald were called up from Triple-A Pawtucket. McDonald is a 31-year-old journeyman who got off to a hot start in the minors, and has continued that in his first two games with Boston. However, he holds little fantasy value unless you’re in an extremely deep AL-only league.
Meanwhile, Reddick might be worth a look in slightly shallower leagues. He spent 27 games with the big club in 2009 after hitting .277/.352/.520 at Double-A.
The 23-year-old outfielder is rated above average defensively by Total Zone, a metric similar to Ultimate Zone Rating. He has shown good pop – posting an ISO (Isolated Power, which is slugging percentage minus batting average) of .242 at the Double-A level in 2009. With Bill Hall‘s recent struggles at the plate and in the field, Reddick is likely to see the bulk of playing time in center.
The other player to pick up in this outfield shuffle is Jeremy Hermida.
A quiet off-season acquisition of Theo Epstein, Hermida’s potential became too expensive for the thrifty Florida Marlins. This made him a prime target for Epstein, who paid pennies on the dollar for his talent. For now, Hermida will in the Sox lineup on most days until Cameron and Ellsbury are both healed.
Even after that, Hermida could steal some at-bats from the struggling David Ortiz. Hermida, 26, had his best season in 2007 while playing for the Marlins. In that ’07 season, he hit .296/.369/.502 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI in 123 games.
Since then Hermida has been on a downward spiral. His ISO has dropped in each of the past few seasons – down from .205 in 2007 to .133 in 2009. Small sample size rules apply, but Hermida’s left-handed swing has enjoyed life so far in the American League.
On the young season, he has six extra-base hits including three home runs. Defensively, Hermida has made Jason Bay look like Carl Crawford, but has had less than 80 innings to learn the nuances of playing the outfield in Fenway Park.
Hermida should be available in most leagues and is worth a look in deeper mixed, as well as AL-only, formats. Once more, he is the stronger play over Reddick (or McDonald), who could be back in Pawtucket in a week’s time. If Hermida swings a hot stick as a fill-in, the locals will be calling for him to get more at-bats over Big Papi in no time.
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