Red Sox’ Rafael Devers named to All-MLB Second Team

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers was named to the 2021 All-MLB Second Team on Tuesday night, as revealed on MLB Network.

Devers was originally one of six Red Sox players selected as a finalist for the third annual All-MLB team earlier this month, joining teammates Xander Bogaerts, Kyle Schwarber, Enrique Hernandez, J.D. Martinez, and Garrett Whitlock.

While the other five were unable to land on one of the two All-MLB squads, Devers was recognized as the second team’s starting third baseman after Braves third baseman Austin Riley received first-team honors.

For Devers, this marks the first time in which he has been selected to an All-MLB team since the concept was introduced in 2019 to “give a more comprehensive honor that covered the full breadth of a big league season, complementing the All-Star Game selections that are awarded just past the season’s halfway point.” Voting was conducted by both fans and a panel of experts.

Being named to the 2021 All-MLB Second Team is not all Devers has accomplished this off-season, as he also took home his first career Silver Slugger Award and finished 11th in American League Most Valuable Player voting.

A first-time All-Star in 2021, the 25-year-old slashed .279/.352/.538 to go along with 37 doubles, one triple, a career-high 38 home runs, 113 RBIs, 101 runs scored, five stolen bases, 62 walks, and 143 strikeouts over 156 games spanning 664 plate appearances.

Among qualified big-league third basemen this year, the left-handed hitting Devers ranked first in home runs, first in RBIs, second in runs scored, second in isolated power (.259), second in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, second in wOBA (.373), third in wRC+ (134), and second in fWAR (4.7), per FanGraphs.

Heading into the winter, Devers is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $11.1 million in 2022, which is a significant raise from the $4.575 he made this season.

With Devers under club control for the next two years, it is worth mentioning that his fellow infield partner in Bogaerts can opt out of the final three years of his contract at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.

Taking those two situations into consideration, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was asked on Monday about where things stand in regards to extension talks with Bogaerts and Devers.

“As always with any type of contract talks with players in-house, we wouldn’t comment unless and until there’s something to announce,” Bloom said. “But you know where we stand on both guys. They are critical, critical parts of our organization. Huge parts of past success here and hopefully parts of future success for a long time.”

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers named Silver Slugger Award winners

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers were each named Silver Slugger Award winners by Louisville Slugger and Major League Baseball on Thursday night. The announcement was made on MLB Network.

Per MLB.com, “the Silver Slugger recognizes the best offensive players at each position in each league. The winners are voted upon by Major League managers and coaches, who are unable to vote for players on their own teams.”

Bogaerts, who was named one of three finalists for American League shortstops last month, takes home his fourth career Silver Slugger Award after beating out Houston’s Carlos Correa, Chicago’s Tim Anderson, and Toronto’s Bo Bichette for the honors.

This past season, the 29-year-old was named to his third American League All-Star team while slashing an impressive .295/.370/.493 (130 wRC+) with 34 doubles, one triple, 23 home runs, 79 RBI, 90 runs scored, five stolen bases, 62 walks, and 113 strikeouts over 144 games and 603 trips to the plate.

Among qualified American League shortstops, Bogaerts ranked fourth in batting average, first in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in weighted on-base average (.368), and second in weighted runs created plus.

Devers, meanwhile, made his first American League All-Star team this season and he was just recognized as a Silver Slugger Award winner for the first time in his career on Thursday. He beat out Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez and Seattle’s Kyle Seager by doing so.

Regularly playing to the right of Bogaerts and manning third base for the Red Sox, Devers slashed .279/.352/.538 (134 wRC+) to go along with 37 doubles, one triple, 38 home runs, 113 RBI, 101 runs scored, five stolen bases, 62 walks, and 143 strikeouts over 156 games spanning 664 plate appearances.

Among qualified third basemen in the junior circuit this year, the 25-year-old ranked first in home runs, first in RBI, second in runs scored, second in isolated power (.259), first in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in weighted on-base average (.373), and second in weighted runs created plus, per FanGraphs.

With Bogaerts and Devers taking home Silver Slugger Awards on Thursday, the pair of infielders become the fourth American League shortstop/third baseman teammates to win the award in the same season since its inception in 1980.

According to Red Sox senior manager of media relations and baseball information J.P. Long, Bogaerts becomes the fifth shortstop in major-league history to win at least four Silver Slugger Awards. He has now also won the fourth-most Silver Sluggers in team history behind only David Ortiz (7), Wade Boggs (6), and Manny Ramirez (6).

(Picture of Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

6 Red Sox players, including Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, selected as finalists for 2021 All-MLB team

Six different Red Sox players were selected as nominees to make Major League Baseball’s 2021 All-MLB team on Wednesday night.

Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Enrique Hernandez, J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, and Garrett Whitlock represent six of the 103 players with the opportunity to make the league’s third annual All-MLB team.

Of those on the Sox who made the cut, Bogaerts is one of 10 shortstops, Devers is one of seven third baseman, Hernandez and Schwarber are two of 18 outfielders, Martinez is one of five designated hitters, and Whitlock is one of 16 relievers.

With six nominees, the Red Sox have the fourth-highest total in the American League behind only the White Sox (nine finalists), Astros (seven finalists), and Blue Jays (seven finalists).

First introduced in 2019, the purpose of the All-MLB team is to recognize the best players at each position across both the American and National League while also splitting them into a First and Second Team.

Since its inception two years ago, only two Red Sox players have received All-MLB honors, as both Bogaerts and former Boston outfielder Mookie Betts were named to the inaugural first and second teams at the conclusion of the 2019 campaign.

After not having a single player make it last year, the Sox will be well represented this time around. Bogaerts has a strong chance to make his second All-MLB team, while his five teammates (including Schwarber) will be going for their first All-MLB nods, respectively.

Voting for the All-MLB team runs through 5 p.m. eastern time on November 19. Fan voting, which can be done by following this link, accounts for 50% of the vote. The other 50% comes from a panel of experts.

The field of players who were announced as finalists on Wednesday will be whittled down to 32 — or two teams consisting of 16 players each — by the time voting ends next Friday.

Winners will then be announced on MLB Network on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 23. This was previously done during the Winter Meetings, which typically take place in December, but the impending work stoppage must have forced a change of plans.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Was Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi snubbed in American League Cy Young Award race?

The three finalists for the American League Cy Young Award were unveiled by the Baseball Writers Association of America on MLB Network on Monday night. Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi was not one of them.

Instead, Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole, White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn, and Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray were announced as the three finalists for the award. The winner will be revealed on November 17 at 6 p.m. eastern time.

While Cole, Lynn, and Ray are each up for their first career Cy Young Awards, Eovaldi would have been as well — and rightfully so.

2021 marked Eovaldi’s third full season with the Sox after coming over in a July 2018 trade with the Rays and signing a lucrative four-year, $68 million contract extension later that winter to remain in Boston.

Across 32 starts this year, the 31-year-old righty posted a 3.75 ERA and 2.79 FIP to go along with 195 strikeouts to 35 walks over 182 1/3 total innings of work while emerging as Boston’s true ace.

Among qualified American League pitchers this season, Eovaldi ranked fourth in innings pitched, first in walks per nine innings (1.73), first in walk rate (4.6%), eighth in ERA, first in FIP (2.79), third in xFIP (3.48), fourth in SIERA (3.60), third in xERA (3.37), and first in fWAR (5.6), per FanGraphs.

Still, despite putting up those positive results, Eovaldi was seemingly snubbed from the American League Cy Young race without making it to the final group of three that consists of Cole, Lynn, and Ray.

If you were to include Eovaldi in there and make it a group of four, the fireballer would lead the pack in several categories including fWAR, FIP, walks per nine innings, and walk rate.

That being said, Eovaldi also produced the highest ERA and BABIP (.326), or batting average on balls in play, of the group. This can mainly be attributed to bad luck and poor defense being played behind him. The Red Sox did lead the American League in errors (108), after all.

Even while taking all those points into consideration, Eovaldi — who turns 32 in February — was not named a Cy Young finalist at the end of the day. He will still appear on plenty of ballots come next Tuesday, but may have ultimately deserved more recognition for the impressive 2021 campaign he just put together.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Hunter Renfroe named Gold Glove Award finalist

Three days after being named a finalist for a Silver Slugger Award on Monday, Hunter Renfroe now has the opportunity to add another trophy to his collection.

The Red Sox right fielder was additionally named a finalist for a Gold Glove Award, Rawlings and Major League Baseball announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Renfroe is up for his first career Gold Glove as he is recognized for the defensive season he put together out in right field alongside the likes of Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker and Yankees right fielder Joey Gallo.

Per MLB.com, the Gold Glove Award — which has been given out since 1957 —  “honors the best defenders at each position in each league.” Voting is divided up between major-league managers and coaches as well as the sabermetrics community.

In his first season with the Red Sox, Renfroe established himself as a dangerous threat to opposing base runners while logging 1,166 of his 1,213 defensive innings in right field.

The 29-year-old finished the year tied with Rangers rookie Adolis Garcia for the most outfield assists in the American League (16), though he also led all major-league outfielders in errors with 12.

Among the two other right fielders he is competing with, Renfroe ranked third in Defensive Runs Saved (0), third in Ultimate Zone Rating (-1.6), third in Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 Games (-2.1), and Outs Above Average (-1), per FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

While the Sox finished with just one Gold Glove finalist, Enrique Hernandez can be viewed as a snub the same way J.D. Martinez was for the Silver Slugger Awards earlier this week.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Hernandez was eligible for a Gold Glove Award in center field, he just simply was not named a finalist despite playing 716 innings at the position.

Of the seven American League centerfielders who logged at least 700 innings this season, Hernandez ranked second in outfield assists (eight), second in Defensive Runs Saved (14), third in Ultimate Zone Rating (7.4), tied for second in Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 Games (12.1), and fifth in Outs Above Average (nine), according to FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

With Renfroe being named a finalist, it is also worth mentioning that a trio of former Red Sox were as well. Brewers center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will be going for his second career Gold Glove Award, Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts will be going for his sixth, and Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi will be going for his first.

As noted by Cotillo, if Renfroe were to take home his first Gold Glove Award, he would become the first Red Sox player to do so since 2018.

That being said, the award winners will be announced on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, November 7.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Hunter Renfroe named Silver Slugger Award finalists

Three Red Sox hitters have been named as finalists for Silver Slugger Awards at their respective positions, Louisville Slugger and Major League Baseball announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Hunter Renfroe were each recognized for the seasons they put together at the plate, as “the Silver Slugger recognizes the best offensive players at each position in each league.”

Devers, who is up for his first career Silver Slugger Award, is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he slashed .279/.352/.538 (134 wRC+) to go along with 37 doubles, one triple, 38 home runs, 113 RBI, 101 runs scored, five stolen bases, 62 walks, and 143 strikeouts over 156 games spanning 664 plate appearances.

The recently-turned 24-year-old third baseman was also named to his first career All-Star team over the summer and now finishes alongside the likes of Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez and Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager.

Of those three, Devers ranked first in batting average, second in on-base percentage, tied for first in slugging percentage, first in weighted on-base average (.373), and second in weighted runs created plus, per FanGraphs.

Bogaerts, meanwhile, is up for for his fourth career Silver Slugger Award as he, too, is just a few weeks removed from an All-Star season in which he posted an impressive .295/.370/.493 (130 wRC+) with 34 doubles, one triple, 23 home runs, 79 RBI, 90 runs scored, five stolen bases, 62 walks, and 113 strikeouts over 144 games and 603 trips to the plate.

The 29-year-old shortstop was named a finalist on Monday along with Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, and Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette.

Among that quartet, Bogaerts ranked third in batting average, first in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in weighted on-base average (.368), and second in weighted runs created plus.

Renfroe, on the other hand, is up for his first career Silver Slugger Award after enjoying a breakout campaign in his first year with the Red Sox.

Across 144 games, the 29-year-old hit a steady .259/.315/.501 (114 wRC+) to go along with 33 doubles, 31 home runs, 96 runs driven in, 89 runs scored, one stolen base, 44 walks, and 130 strikeouts in 572 total plate appearances.

One of eight American League outfielders to be recognized as a finalist with Cedric Mullions of the Orioles, Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of the Blue Jays, Aaron Judge of the Yankees, Kyle Tucker of the Astros, Mitch Haniger of the Mariners, and Randy Arozarena of the Rays, Renfroe ranked seventh among this group in batting average, eighth in slugging percentage, fifth in slugging percentage, sixth in weighted on-base average (.344), and seventh in weighted runs created plus.

While Boston finishing with three finalists means they have among the most in the American League, one could make the case that designated hitter J.D. Martinez was snubbed from the list.

Martinez would have ben going for his fourth career Silver Slugger Award, but instead missed the cut behind the likes of Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez, Yankees mashers Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo, and Rays veteran Nelson Cruz.

If you were to add Martinez to that group of five, though, the 34-year-old — who was also an All-Star this season — would actually rank first in batting average (.286), fourth in on-base percentage (.349), third in slugging percentage (.518), fourth in weighted on-base average (.364), and fourth in weighted runs created plus (128).

Per MLB.com, the winner for each Silver Slugger Award is voted on by major-league players and coaches “who are unable to vote for players on their own teams.”

The winners themselves will be revealed on MLB Network at 6 p.m. eastern time on November 11.

(Picture of Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts shouts out Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela for being named organization’s Defensive Player of the Year

Earlier this week, the Red Sox recognized several of their minor-leaguers for the seasons they had this year by handing out eight different organizational awards.

Highlighted by Nick Yorke being named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year and Brayan Bello being named Boston’s Starting Pitcher of the Year, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela was also recognized as the organization’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Before their series finale against the Mets at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, the Red Sox honored each of these recipients during a pre-game ceremony. Rafaela was among those who was in attendance, and he was able to grab a picture with fellow Dutch national Xander Bogaerts before the festivities concluded.

Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, took to Instagram to congratulate Rafaela, a native of nearby Curacao, for his accomplishment, writing, ‘Congrats Minor League Defensive Player of the Year Kid! Curacao Kid 🇨🇼 Ban Pa Bai 🔥💯.’  

(From Xander Bogaerts’ Instagram story on Thursday)

Rafaela, who turned 21 last week, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He was originally signed out of Curacao for just $10,000 as a 16-year-old international free agent back in 2017.

With Low-A Salem this season, Rafaela played in a total of 102 games while making 52 appearances (51 starts) in center field, 20 appearances (17 starts) at third base, 16 appearances (15 starts) at shortstop, nine appearances (nine starts) in left field, eight appearances (six starts) at second base, and one appearance (one start) in right field.

Over 516 defensive innings between all three outfield positions this year, Rafaela racked up nine outfield assists and started five double plays — all while committing just one error.

On the offensive side of things, Rafaela had himself a decent season at the plate for Salem. The right-handed hitter slashed .251/.305/.424 (95 wRC+) with 20 doubles, a team-leading nine triples, 10 home runs, 53 RBI, a team-leading 73 runs scored and 23 stolen bases (in 26 attempts), 25 walks, and 79 strikeouts over 432 plate appearances.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, the versatile, 5-foot-8, 145 pounder is “hard to miss” since “his high-energy style of play is evident in every aspect of the game and he turns heads with his unexpected bat speed and ability to put a charge in pitches in the zone, particularly against left-handers.”

As someone who hits from the right side of the plate, it’s not too surprising to see that Rafaela had far more success against left-handed pitching (.930 OPS in 79 PAs) as opposed to right-handed pitching (.681 OPS in 353 PAs) this season.

That being said, Baseball America does note that Rafaela — who represented Curacao in the 2012 Little League World Series — has a tendency to be a free-swinger, which can work against him at times, particularly on pitches outside of the strike zone that induce weak contact off his bat.

Even while taking those points into consideration, it goes without saying that Rafaela still has plenty of room — and time — to grow and develop, both as a hitter and fielder.

The Curacaoan-born infielder/outfielder can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his professional career this winter if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline, though it seems likely he will remain with the organization heading into the 2022 season.

On that note, it should be interesting to see if Rafaela participates in the Sox’ fall instructional league that begins in Fort Myers next month, as he has each of the last three years, or if he has other plans for the offseason.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela and Xander Bogaerts via Instagram)

Red Sox top prospects Nick Yorke, Brayan Bello named organization’s Offensive Player, Starting Pitcher of the Year

Two of the top prospects in the Red Sox farm system were recognized for the seasons they respectively put together this year.

Infielder Nick Yorke was named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year, while right-hander Brayan Bello was named Boston’s Starting Pitcher of the Year, the club announced on Tuesday.

Yorke, 19, enjoyed a great deal of success in his first professional season with the Sox after being selected with the 17th overall pick in last summer’s amateur draft.

The right-handed hitting second baseman received an invite to major-league spring training earlier this year and broke minor-league camp with Low-A Salem.

After getting off to a slow start with Salem, Yorke turned a corner at the plate beginning in June, as he was slashing a scorching .323/.413/.500 (146 wRC+) with 14 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBI, 59 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 41 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 76 games (346 plate appearances) before earning a promotion to High-A Greenville late last month.

Upon getting promoted to a more advanced level on the minor-league ladder, Yorke did not slow down, as evidenced by him collecting two hits in his Greenville debut on August 24.

From there, the California native went on to hit .333/.406/.571 (158 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, four homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 22 strikeouts across 21 games (96 plate appearances) with the Drive, whose season ended on Sunday.

All in all, Yorke this season ranked first among all qualified Red Sox minor-league hitters in batting average (.325), fourth in on-base percentage (.412), third in slugging percentage (.516), first in OPS (.928), second in wRC+ (158), per FanGraphs.

Yorke, who does not turn 20 until next April, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking fifth among position players in the organization.

As for Bello, the 22-year-old right-hander also earned a midseason promotion over the summer after originally beginning the year — and dominating — with Greenville.

Across six starts with the Drive, Bello posted a dazzling 2.27 ERA and 2.82 FIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to seven walks over 31 2/3 innings of work before moving up to Double-A Portland in early June.

While the transition from High-A to Double-A did not go entirely smoothly for Bello, he was one of two prospects to represent the Red Sox in July’s All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field.

From the time he was promoted to Portland through the end of the minor-league season, the Dominican-born righty put up a 4.66 ERA, but much more respectable 3.12 FIP, while striking out 31.1% of the batters he faced and walking just 8.6% of them over 15 starts spanning 63 2/3 innings of work with the Sea Dogs.

Among the eight Red Sox minor-league pitchers who accrued at least 90 innings this season, Bello ranked first in strikeouts per nine innings (12.46), first in strikeout rate (32.8%), first in FIP (3.02), and first in xFIP (3.16), per FanGraphs.

Bello, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, is the No. 6 prospect in Boston’s farm system, according to Baseball America.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Bello throws from a mid-three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a fastball, a changeup, and a slider.

Despite the fact he does not turn 23 until next May, Bello will more than likely be added to the Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline since he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter.

In addition to Yorke being named the Red Sox’ Offensive Player of the Year and Bello being named the Starting Pitcher of the Year, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela was named the Defensive Player of the Year, right-hander Durbin Feltman was named the Relief Pitcher of the Year, infielder Christian Koss was named the Baserunner of the Year, outfielder Allan Castro was named the Latin Program Position Player of the Year, and right-hander Jedixson Paez was named the Latin Program Pitcher of the Year.

On top of that, right-hander Kutter Crawford — who made his major-league debut earlier this month — was named the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, which goes to a player “who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major-league team.”

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Bobby Dalbec named American League Rookie of the Month after posting 1.205 OPS in August

The month of August continues to treat Red Sox first baseman extremely well.

After making his major-league debut last August, Dalbec was named the American League Rookie of the Month for what he did this August earlier Thursday evening.

In 24 games this month, the 26-year-old slugger slashed an impressive .339/.431/.774 to go along with four doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 21 RBI, and 12 runs scored across 72 trips to the plate.

Two of his seven homers and seven of his 21 RBI came in one game against the Twins on August 26 — a Thursday night at Fenway Park in which he racked up three hits to tie a season-high.

Among all American League position players who accrued at least 70 plate appearances in the month of August, Dalbec ranked ninth in batting average, second in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, first in OPS (1.205), first in isolated power (.435), first in weighted on-base average (.491), and first in wRC+ (214), per FanGraphs.

One thing that has aided the right-handed hitter as of late has been an increase in awareness at the plate, or — to put it simply — plate discipline.

As of July 31, Dalbec carried with him a strikeout rate of 37.5% and walk rate of just 4.4%, both of which were among the worst marks in all of baseball at that point in the season.

Once the calendar flipped to August, however, the former top prospect demonstrated a much more patient approach at the plate, as he cut his punchout rate down to 25% while bumping up his walk rate to 11.1%.

Dalbec’s improved performance at the plate over the last four weeks or so certainly comes at interesting time, as the Red Sox activated trade deadline acquisition Kyle Schwarber from the injured list with the intention of having him play some first base on August 13 and subsequently claimed corner infielder Travis Shaw off waivers on August 15.

In being named American League Rookie of the Month, Dalbec becomes the first Red Sox rookie to receive the honor since former teammate Michael Chavis did so in May 2019.

As he looks to build off a successful month of August in his first appearance of September, Dalbec will be batting fifth and getting the start at first base for the Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Kiké Hernández earns American League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox utility man Kiké Hernández has been named the American League Player of the Week for the week of July 19-25, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

Hernández becomes the second member of the Red Sox to earn AL Player of the Week honors this season, joining J.D. Martinez — who did so in early April.

On the National League side of things, Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor — a former teammate of Hernández — was the recipient of Player of the Week honors after he posted an OPS of 1.433 in seven games against the Giants and Rockies.

In six games against the Blue Jays and Yankees this past week, Hernández went 10-for-25 (.400/.448/1.000) at the plate with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI, and eight runs scored over 29 plate appearances while playing second base, shortstop, and center field.

The 29-year-old began his week with his first multi-homer game of the year in Buffalo, then came through in the clutch on more than one occasion at Fenway Park while the Yankees were in town.

On Thursday, with his side down to their final out and trailing 3-1 in the late stages of the ninth inning, Hernández laced a game-tying, two-run double off the Green Monster that scored both Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran to knot things up at three runs a piece and set the Red Sox off for a walk-off 5-4 win in the 10th.

On Sunday, Hernández took center stage in the eighth inning of Boston’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over New York, as he ripped an RBI double off Yankees reliever Zack Britton that brought in Christian Vazquez to cut the Sox’ deficit down to one run and later scored what would turn out to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

Including what he has done over his last six games, Hernández is now slashing .244/.322/.467 (111 wRC+) to go along with 14 home runs and 39 RBI over 84 total games (357 plate appearances) in his first season with the Red Sox.

Hernández, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal with Boston in February, has proven to be a valuable component of what the club is trying to accomplish in 2021 and beyond.

Coming into play on Monday, the right-handed hitter out of Puerto Rico ranks 20th among qualified American League position players in fWAR (2.4) while leading all AL center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (12), per FanGraphs.

The fact that Hernández has been as solid as he has been at center field this season speaks to just how versatile he is, as he originally signed with the Sox to be the club’s everyday second baseman.

That being said, Hernández — who turns 30 in late August — will make just his second start and fifth overall appearance at shortstop in place of Xander Bogaerts in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

First pitch between the 61-39 Red Sox and 49-46 Blue Jays is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)