It’s July 1st and that means today the players report to Fenway Park to begin “Summer Camp” with on-field activities beginning on Friday. Before those activities start up, players will need to test negative for COVID-19.
So, with baseball officially back, let’s get you ready for the Boston Red Sox’s 60-game season with the top five players on the roster.
1. Xander Bogaerts
Bogaerts definitely had a coming out party last season, as he hit over .300 with 33 home runs in 155 games. Not only was he someone that finished fifth in the AL MVP voting, but he made his second All-Star Game appearance.
He projects to hit right in the middle of a stacked lineup even without Mookie Betts, and he is off to a great start when it comes to earning his $120 million contract that he signed before last season.
2. J.D. Martinez
J.D. Martinez is the best designated hitter in all of baseball and he certainly backed up that statement in 2019. Like Bogaerts, he hit over .300 with over 30 home runs and drove in over 100 runs for the second straight season.
Martinez is always someone who you can rely on when you need a hit, and he should have another very productive season hitting behind Bogaerts and the third best player on the team.
3. Rafael Devers
Rafael Devers is one of the most underrated players in all of baseball in my opinion, as he has a 6 WAR in his career averaging 30 homers a season. In 2019 he took a huge leap, hitting 11 more home runs and increases his batting average by over 70 points.
Devers should be the next Red Sox player that receives an extension, and should have another great season at the hot corner.
4. Eduardo Rodriguez
Eduardo Rodriguez comes in for me at #4 because Chris Sale was not included in this list because he is sidelined for the entirety of the 2020 campaign with Tommy John Surgery.
He was finally able to reach over 200 innings of work in 2019 and he led the American League with 34 starts. The Red Sox will need his productivity as the ace of the 2020 rotation, especially when you consider that they will be without three big arms in Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello.
Will he be able to step up along with Nathan Eovaldi for the Sox and pitch like a #1 guy? It remains to be seen.
5. Alex Verdugo
Yes, I know Alex Verdugo has never played a game in a Red Sox uniform at Fenway Park yet, but he has to be put in the top five due to the fact that the Red Sox thought so much of him that he was the big piece coming back in the Mookie Betts trade this past winter.
It isn’t fair to assume he’s going to be someone that can produce at the level that Betts did, but he needs to make a good first impression and my expectation is he is someone that produces at the same level as Andrew Benintendi.
Photo: (Jim Davis – Boston Globe)