The 2019 Red Sox have been disappointing, but two guys have managed to breathe some life into what would otherwise be a miserable season. If you’re going to hand out any “A’s” for your midterm report card, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers are the most deserving, without question.
Both players came into the year with something to prove, and both are far exceeding anyone’s expectations and giving us a glimmer of hope that this team might actually have some magic in it.
Bogaerts is a 26 year-old who’s been in the league for six-plus years and just signed a seven-year, $132 million contract. In other words, he’s at the stage of his career where we find out just how much he really gives a shit. It’s not uncommon to see guys plummet after signing a massive deal, especially someone who’s never really put together the type of season that we all know they’re capable of. It’s been said time and time again that Bogey should be a 30-homer guy, but prior to this season his career-high was 23. He’s now six shy of that total with 72 games remaining in 2019. Becoming an elite player after signing a big contract is a great way to endear yourself to Red Sox fans for the rest of your life. Not to mention he’s already a two-time champion.
After an impressive 58 games as a 20 year-old in 2017, Devers hit just .240 in his rookie campaign last season. Now he’s seventh in the Majors with a .324 average and stands as one of the biggest All-Star snubs of all-time. He’s also made drastic improvements defensively, which had been his one glaring weakness throughout the majority of his first two seasons.
Without Bogaerts and Devers, the Sox probably wouldn’t even be sniffing a Wild Card berth. Aside from David Price and Brandon Workman, the pitching has been wildly inconsistent and the bullpen has been downright awful at times. Last year’s MVP Mookie Betts has been played well below the standard he’s set for himself over the past few years. Sure, JD Martinez is having another solid year at the plate, Christian Vazquez has been a pleasant surprise with a .299 average and 14 homers, and Michael Chavis has burst onto the scene with 15 dingers of his own. But Bogaerts and Devers are first and second on the team in just about every major offensive category.
Bogaerts leads the Red Sox in doubles, RBI’s, and on-base percentage. He’s second on the team in hits and home runs. Devers leads in batting average and hits and is second in doubles, RBI’s, stolen bases, and OPS.
Here are the categories in which they crack the top 10 in all of baseball:
Devers: .324 (7th in MLB)
Devers: 112 (3rd in MLB)
Bogaerts: 29 (2nd in MLB)
Devers: 25 (4th in MLB)
Devers: 69 (4th in MLB)
Bogaerts: 67 (9th in MLB)
Bogaerts: 65 (10th in MLB)
The Sox currently stand at 49-41, good for third place in the division and fourth in the Wild Card race. By no means are they out of playoff contention, and for that we can thank the shortstop and third baseman. Now if everyone else could get their shit together that would be great. We have a title to defend.