The Boston Red Sox have blown preseason expectations out of the water in 2021.
Many folks expected the team to play .500 ball for most of the season, but the Red Sox entered the year with other ideas.
Through 68 games, Boston is just two games out of first place in the American League East with a 41-27 record.
The club has gotten this far on the shoulders of its star offensive players.
Boston’s rotation and bullpen have both performed at a serviceable level, and when you have an offense that can produce at an elite level, serviceable is all you need from your pitching staff.
Right now, it looks like four members of the Red Sox have legitimate All-Star aspirations this season.
Here they are.
Xander Bogaerts is playing like the best shortstop in baseball.
Not only is he a lock to earn the start at shortstop in the All-Star Game, but he also might receive MVP consideration at his current rate.
Bogaerts is slashing .319/.383/.557 this season.
He is on pace to finish the year with a 6.94 WAR, which would be the second-highest mark of his career.
Xander Bogaerts continues to cement his legacy with the #RedSox. Tonight he starts his 952nd game at SS for the Sox, passing Nomar Garciaparra for third most in team history. It's his 1,030th game overall – one more than Johnny Pesky played here. pic.twitter.com/tQJccXBnmh
— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) June 10, 2021
The 28-year-old seems to be getting better and better with each passing season.
At 24 years old, Rafael Devers is doing some big things.
The young star is on the verge of his first All-Star selection, and it’s well-deserved.
Devers is batting .283 this season with a .914 OPS.
He has 16 home runs, 20 doubles, and 54 runs batted in, putting him on a 162-game pace for 41 home runs, 51 doubles, and 137 runs batted in.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 11, 2021
Like Bogaerts, Devers may receive MVP votes if he’s able to sustain this pace.
Ohtani seems like the runaway favorite to win the starting job in this category, but Martinez will almost certainly be named to the team as a reserve.
Martinez is looking like his vintage self this season.
He is batting .307 with a .913 OPS.
He has 13 home runs, 16 doubles, and 41 runs batted in over 62 games.
HAVE A DAY!
JD Martinez: 3 HRs in the game and the Red Sox bats have absolutely come alive.pic.twitter.com/9FpbDzcxoH
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 11, 2021
He also has a 2.2 WAR to this point.
Martinez has been a crucial ingredient to Boston’s success this year.
Alex Verdugo has the misfortune of having to compete with a crowded group of star outfielders in the AL, but like Martinez, he will almost certainly be named to the All-Star team as a reserve.
Verdugo continues to impress fans despite being tasked with the impossible role of filling Mookie Betts‘ shoes.
Verdugo is batting .291 this season with an OPS of .819.
He has been one of the most clutch players on the team, constantly coming up with big hits or game-saving defensive plays in the outfield.
Verdugo, for the lead! 😤 pic.twitter.com/owPRSnUyhU
— MLB (@MLB) June 16, 2021
His energy is unmatched, and you could argue that the 25-year-old is the most important player on this Red Sox team.
The Red Sox will be well-represented at this year’s Midsummer classic.
There is also a real chance that the team will have some bullpen arms selected (i.e. Matt Barnes, Garrett Whitlock), but the selection process for pitchers isn’t as straightforward as it is for position players.
Voting is now open if fans want to go make their voices heard for the 2021 All-Star Game.NEXT: 2 Simple Goals For Chris Sale Upon His Red Sox Return