Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers named to American League All-Star team as starters

Red Sox infielders Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have been named to the American League All-Star team as starters, Major League Baseball announced Thursday night.

Bogaerts becomes an All-Star for the third time in his career and is slated to start an All-Star Game for just the second time after getting the starting nod at shortstop for the American League back in 2016.

Following a 1-for-4 showing at the plate in Boston’s 15-1 win over the Royals at Fenway Park on Thursday, the 28-year-old is now slashing .329/.391/.550 with 25 doubles, 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 50 runs scored, 29 walks, 57 strikeouts, and five stolen bases through his first 77 games (325 plate appearances) of the 2021 season.

Among qualified American League shortstops, Bogaerts came into play Thursday ranking first in hits (94), first in doubles (24), third in homers, third in runs scored (49), third in RBI, first in batting average (.330), second in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage (.551), first in OPS (.942), first in weighted on-base average (.400), second in wRC+ (151), and first in fWAR, per FanGraphs.

“For Xander to be a starter, that means the world. He’s one of the best, if not the best shortstop in the big-leagues,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said following the rout over Kansas City on Thursday afternoon. “The way he goes about his business, it’s amazing. I’ve been saying all along, he’s the most consistent in this organization. He’s amazing. Day in and day out he shows up, he works and he goes out there and performs. There’s no red flags on the field and off the field. This kid got here and he contributed to win a World Series.”

By finishing in first place in regards to the fan vote, Bogaerts beat out the likes of Toronto’s Bo Bichette and Houston’s Carlos Correa for the top spot among AL shortstops.

Devers, meanwhile, becomes an All-Star for the first time in his young career after nearly making the team in 2019.

The 24-year-old enjoyed a productive day at the plate on Thursday, as he went 3-for-5 a home run, three runs scored, and five runs driven in to raise his batting line on the season to .288/.359/.582.

The homer, a 426-foot three-run blast, was his 20th of the season, while his five RBI brought his total on the year up to an American League-leading 69 through 78 games (329 plate appearances).

As of Thursday morning, Devers ranked first among qualified AL third basemen in hits (81), first in doubles (24), first in home runs (19), second in runs scored (52), first in RBI, first in batting average (.282), fourth in on-base percentage (.355), first in slugging percentage (.571), first in OPS (.926), first in isolated power (.289), first in weighted on-base average (.387), first in wRC+ (143), and first in fWAR (3.0), according to FanGraphs.

Devers finished in first place among American League third baseman in terms of fan votes, as he beat out Houston’s Alex Bregman and Chicago’s Yoan Moncada for the No. 1 spot.

“[With] Raffy, we had a conversation early in the season, actually in spring training. It was him understanding what was going on in the business,” said Cora. “Looking around and everybody’s talking about all these young kids, right? (Fernando) Tatis, (Ronald) Acuña, (Vladimir Guerrero Jr.), (Cavan) Biggio, (Bo) Bichette, and people forget about the fact that he’s 24. He led the big leagues in extra-base hits two years ago and he’s doing what he’s doing now. For him to get recognized, I know it it means the world for him, it means the world for the organization.”

To put it simply, both Bogaerts and Devers are having stellar seasons with the Red Sox to this point, and the two teammates will become the first pair of Boston infielders ever to start in the same All-Star Game at shortstop and third base.

J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo, who were both named All-Star finalists along with Bogaerts and Devers on Sunday, were not named as starters for the American League side on Thursday.

That being the case because Martinez finished second behind Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani to start at designated hitter for the AL, while Verdugo finished ninth among eligible AL outfielders and behind the likes of the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, and the Blue Jays’ Teoscar Hernandez.

While Martinez and Verdugo will not start this year’s Midsummer Classic, there is still a chance for both of them to partake in the festivities, as pitchers and reserves for both the American League and National League teams will be announced on Sunday, July 4.

From there, All-Star Week will begin in Denver on July 11 with the All-Star Futures Game, and the All-Star Game itself will take place at Coors Field on July 13.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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