The Boston Red Sox have a plethora of young talent on their 2021 roster.
The team has a different look compared to just a couple of seasons ago, but there are a few young stars who are the future faces of the franchise.
Today, we are going to rank Boston’s top-three stars under 26 years old.
3. Garrett Whitlock
The Red Sox stole Garrett Whitlock from the New York Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.
Whitlock was originally an 18th-round selection in the 2017 MLB Draft.
He enjoyed success at the minor-league level for a couple of seasons, but underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019.
The Yankees reportedly had hoped that Whitlock’s surgery would prevent other teams from picking him in the Rule 5 Draft, but the Red Sox rolled the dice on him anyway.
“While most players enjoy a full recovery if they put in the work required, the Yankees chose not to add Whitlock to their 40-man roster, taking a gamble that the surgery would prevent other clubs from stealing him in the Rule 5 draft. The gamble didn’t pay off,” wrote Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
The selection by the Red Sox has turned out to be one of the best Rule 5 acquisitions in recent memory.
Whitlock is in the midst of a breakout rookie season for Boston.
The soon-to-be-25-year-old is currently working on a 1.63 ERA, a 3.32 FIP, and a 1.12 WHIP over 15 appearances.
The righty is in the midst of a 7.1-inning scoreless streak, too.
There are no guarantees, but at this rate, Whitlock could receive a vote or two in the Rookie of the Year race.
2. Alex Verdugo
Alex Verdugo is growing on Red Sox fans very quickly, and for good reason.
When he came over to Boston in the Mookie Betts trade, the 25-year-old heard a million times over about how he had impossible shoes to fill.
But the truth is that Verdugo has done an excellent job replacing Betts.
Verdugo is working on what would be his third-consecutive season with an OPS over .800.
Since coming to Boston, he’s batting .300 with an OPS of .832 over 109 games.
He plays with an energy that the Red Sox haven’t seen in a long time, a sight that any fan loves to see.
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) June 6, 2021
Verdugo is under contract through the 2024 season, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he re-signs with the Red Sox long-term.
He seems like a perfect fit and has said so himself.
1. Rafael Devers
The Red Sox have been patient with Rafael Devers over the years, and it’s paying off in every way possible.
Devers debuted when he was only 20 years old, and although his numbers were solid (.284 average, .819 OPS), he was a very raw talent.
His defense was shaky and his baseball IQ needed time to develop.
Devers was a big part of the Red Sox’ title run in 2018, batting .294 with a decent .734 OPS throughout that postseason, but there was still tons of room for growth, which we saw the following year.
Devers’ 2019 season was the best of his career at that point.
He slashed .311/.361/.555, homered 32 times, led the league with 54 doubles and 359 total bases, posted a 5.4 WAR and finished 12th in the MVP race.
His defense improved immensely, too—it was his first year without a negative defensive WAR.
Devers regressed slightly in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but was still serviceable, batting .263 with a better-than-league-average 110 OPS+.
His 2021 season so far has suggested that last year’s sample size wasn’t big enough to draw any real conclusions, as he’s playing at a level this year that can best be compared to his breakout 2019 campaign.
The now-24-year-old has a slash line of .274/.342/.567 this season.
.@Rafael_Devers leads MLB in extra base hits, and has already won a World Series 💍, but there's a good chance you don't know a lot about him.
— Infield Chatter (@InfieldChatter) June 4, 2021
He leads the league with 18 doubles and 48 runs batted in.
It still feels like Devers hasn’t reached his ceiling yet, which is a good thing.
If the young star can reach his full potential, he’ll win an MVP award before he calls it quits.