Today’s Random Player From the Baseball Project That May Or May Not Amount To Anything is Dwight Evans. Evans was drafted by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 1969 draft. He was a late September call up in 1972 and became a fixture in 1973. He was a tremendous fielder in right (71 total runs saved above average via baseball-reference.com) and was a very good hitter (127 OPS+). He was patient (career .370 OBP) and did have decent power (.470 career Slg).
He was overshadowed by his teammate Jim Rice, who by no means was a bad player, but Evans was a better player. I believe it is because what Evans did was different but every bit as valuable as what Rice did. Rice hit 382 homeruns and led the league three times. Rice had 1451 RBI and led the league twice. Evans never led the league in RBI and the one year in he led the league in homeruns was 1981, the strike year which they had a split season and most people dismiss (sorry Montreal fans; I loved that team). Rice had a higher batting average (.298 to .272), but Evans had a higher OBP (Rice’s was .352). Evans drew walks, Rice hit homers. Both are valuable. Rice wasn’t a good fielder. They put him in left field for a reason. They did the same with Ted Williams and Manny Ramirez for the same reason. Rice led the league in grounding into double plays four straight years, and hit over 20 of them six times. Evans never hit into 20. Rice won the 1978 MVP, and I believe he deserved it. Yes, Ron Guidry was amazing that year, but give me the guy who plays every day as opposed to the guy who plays every fourth or fifth day. But Evans was overall in my opinion was better. Rice had a 128 OPS+, but was only 28 runs saved above average. And Evans played four more seasons, and wasn’t a hang on (except for that year in Baltimore. That sucked. He should have retired with the Red Sox).