The Boston Red Sox pride themselves on scoring runs.
The first-place Red Sox average 5.12 runs per contest, a mark that ranks third in all of baseball.
How do they do it?
Well, the bulk of their production comes from a few big names in the heart of their lineup.
All three of those guys have been crucial components to Boston’s offensive success despite flying under the radar individually.
Now, let’s get to the players who have done the majority of the damage for the Red Sox at the plate this season.
3. Xander Bogaerts
The top three players on this list are separated by razor-thin margins.
Xander Bogaerts is a legitimate MVP candidate and would be the best hitter on a handful of other MLB teams, but he comes in at No. 3 on a loaded Red Sox squad.
The 28-year-old was just named to his third All-Star team.
He is batting .321 with a .918 OPS this season.
He has gone yard 13 times and leads the league with 25 doubles.
Over the past four seasons, Bogaerts has evolved into one of the best hitters in the game.
Since the start of the 2018 season, he has a slash line of .304/.374/.535 and an OPS+ of 138 while averaging 31 home runs per 162 games.
2. J.D. Martinez
J.D. Martinez is having no trouble putting his difficult 2020 campaign behind him.
After batting just .213 with a .680 OPS amid unusual circumstances last year, he is back to raking this season.
The slugger is currently batting .299 with a .911 OPS, 17 home runs, and 21 doubles.
JD MARTINEZ GO-AHEAD HOME RUN
— Beisebol Mundo Afora 🌍 (@beisebolmafora) July 1, 2021
Like Bogaerts, Martinez has taken his game to the next level in recent years.
But with Martinez, his success started back in 2014.
Since the start of that season, he is a .300 hitter with a .934 OPS, a 147 OPS+, and 231 home runs in 949 games.
That’s a 162-game average of 40 homers.
Martinez is not just a great power hitter; he’s a great pure hitter.
The three-time Silver Slugger has received MVP votes four times throughout his career despite having to overcome the obstacle of being a primary designated hitter.
1. Rafael Devers
The rise of Rafael Devers has been a joy for Red Sox fans to watch.
The 24-year-old dealt with his fair share of adversity, but he is flourishing at the MLB level now.
For the first time in his career, Rafael Devers is an All-Star. ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/vjGIjDBhEZ
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 2, 2021
Excluding the current campaign, Devers’ previous best offensive season came in 2019.
That year, he led the league in total bases (359) and doubles (54) while batting .311 with a .916 OPS.
He wound up finishing 12th in the MVP race.
His current 2021 season is looking a lot like that 2019 campaign did.
This year, Devers is batting .290 with a .938 OPS.
He leads the league in runs batted in (71) and doubles (25).
He has homered 21 times and has an outstanding OPS+ of 147.
The most exciting part is that it doesn’t seem like he has reached his ceiling yet.
If he’s arguably already the best hitter on the team at age 24, where could he be in a few years?
Honorable Mention: Alex Verdugo
Alex Verdugo is going through a difficult stretch at the plate right now, but he is undoubtedly one of the better hitters on this Red Sox team.
Up until June 19, Verdugo was batting .290 with an .812 OPS.
But since that date, he has struggled to a .214/.333/.286 slash line over 14 games.
He has still been reaching base at a decent clip but has struggled to hit for average and power.
His overall numbers have dipped slightly to a .277 average and .774 OPS.
There’s no reason to believe the slump will last much longer, and when he returns to form, Boston will get a huge boost.