Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts is officially a shortstop, and judging by 2015 returns it appears that’€™s the way it’€™s going to stay for a long time.

He has played well enough to be a candidate for the All-Star Game’€™s Final Vote, leading all American League shortstops in hits, doubles, RBI, slugging percentage, times on base and Wins Above Replacement.

A year ago, what Bogaerts was identified as was a question mark.

That was because, thanks to the midseason acquisition of Stephen Drew, the only existence he had ever known (except for a short postseason run) ‘€“ that of a shortstop ‘€“ was being stripped from him.

What a difference 365 days makes.

“Yeah, that was the toughest part for me, but I just had to live with it,” Bogaerts said when he was moved from shortstop to third base for the final four months of the season. “I’€™m just here to help the team win, and obviously that was what the team thought was best.”

As it turned out, it wasn’€™t best for anybody.

Bogaerts went on to play 44 games at third base, hitting just .182 with a .517 OPS while at the position. In those contests he manned third, the Red Sox went just 35-54.

“I just felt the comfort level was never the same,” Bogaerts said. “That said, I just had to play that way and I was blessed to have a chance to play every day.”

Two important things did unfold for the 22 year old, leading to his current success. First, he finished 2014 with confidence, hitting .313 with an .806 OPS in September.

“I finished the season on a good note,” Bogaerts remembered. “That was important.”

Then he made the commitment to attending EXOS (former Athletes Performance) in Phoenix for the offseason, resulting in an increased quickness and overall improved confidence in his physical capabilities.

Elements like implanting a squat routine to improve leg strength ‘€“ which he has continued to use throughout the season ‘€“ have been instrumental in helping Bogaerts maintain his current success.

“That was the first time I did something like that, so I didn’€™t know what to expect,” he said. “You would hope it would be like that, but you don’€™t know what to expect so you don’€™t know what kind of results you’€™re going to get. It worked out well.”

And now, it has led him to the verge of spending his All-Star break in Cincinnati.

“I’€™m not going to lie to you, it’€™s been a goal of mine,” said Bogaerts of becoming an All-Star. “We’€™ll see.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Ichiro Suzuki and the Marlins are headed nowhere fast. (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Ichiro Suzuki and the Marlins are headed nowhere fast, struggling offensively since star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton broke a bone in his hand last month. (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

The Red Sox are reaching a critical point in their season going into their series with the Marlins. Winners of six of their last eight, the Red Sox are 39-45, but just six games out of first place in the AL East. A two-game sweep of the Marlins could prompt a buying mentality leading up to the trade deadline. Meanwhile, two losses could spell the white flag.

Coming off of three consecutive series wins, including a crucial two-of-three over the AL-leading Astros, the Red Sox appear to be right on the cusp of contention in the division. And with a three-game set against the first-place Yankees on the horizon, the Sox have the potential to make a huge leap before the All-Star break.

“It’s good, man,” David Ortiz said after 12-6 drubbing of the Blue Jays last Thursday. “We haven’t been able to play consistently good, you know? If we finish the first half of the season playing the way we have lately, it’ll give you hope for the second half, especially when you’re in a division where there’s not too many games apart. We played the worst the first couple months of the season and we’re still six, seven games away. If we start playing better, it’ll give you hope.”

The Red Sox have scored at least five runs in each of their last four games leading to a 3-1 record. Over the last seven days, they have slashed a hefty .277/.344/.463, good for the fifth best OPS in the MLB. During this stretch, they have slugged the majors’ third-most extra-base hits.

Though the Sox rotation has struggled to say the least, the hurlers have begun to rebound. Over the last month, their ERA does not look pretty, sitting at 4.88. However, they sport a 3.49 FIP and a league-high .359 BABIP during this period, indicating they have fallen prone to some bad luck of late. Additionally, the starters’ 2.8 WAR ranks in the top third of the MLB.

Since the loss of MVP candidate Giancarlo Stanton to a hand injury, the Marlins have essentially capsized. The Fish have lost eight of their last 13 to fall to 35-48 and fourth place in the NL East.

The main issue with the Marlins has unsurprisingly been the offense. They have scored just 29 runs over their last 14 games, a result of the fourth worst wRC+ (72) and the fourth-highest soft contact percentage (22.8) in the majors. Five of nine Marlins regulars have a batting average under .240 during this stretch.

“It’s frustrating right now,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said following a 2-0 loss to the Cubs on Sunday. “We were on such a good momentum run.

“You have to be able to win these close games by executing when you get those runners in scoring position and doing those little things to get guys moved over into scoring position.”

Thankfully for Marlins hitters, their pitching staff has bailed them out with a 3.29 ERA in their last six games. A 1.90 BB/K rate and a .214 opponents’ average has helped Marlins pitchers keep hitters off the basepaths and off the scoreboard en route to a 4-2 record.

The Red Sox will count their blessings as they will not have to face Marlins ace Jose Fernandez on Tuesday or Wednesday. The 22-year-old phenom made his 2015 debut last week, striking out six and blasting a home run in his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Tuesday: Wade Miley (8-7, 4.53 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (6-5, 3.45 ERA)
Wednesday: Rick Porcello (4-9, 6.08 ERA) vs. Tom Koehler (7-4, 3.52 ERA)

WHO’S HOT: RED SOX

— Mookie Betts has continued to tear the cover off the ball. The diminutive center fielder has clubbed a .370/.418/.650 slash line over the last month. Perhaps most impressively, he has a higher walk rate (8.0 percent) than strikeout rate (7.1 percent) during this stretch.

— Since being acquired from the division rival Orioles last month, Alejandro De Aza has proven his worth as more than a utility outfielder. The lefty has three dingers and 13 RBIs in the last 14 days, good for an isolated power figure of .425.

Hanley Ramirez has joined the union of Red Sox sluggers of late as well, tagging three long balls in his last four games, including the game-winning two run shot in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game vs. the Astros.

Christian Yelich

Christian Yelich

WHO’S HOT: MARLINS

— Highly-touted outfielder Christian Yelich has struggled for most of the season with a .258 average and a 0.3 WAR. However, in the last seven days, he has logged a .368/.520/.632 slash line, the best of any Marlins starter.

— Tom Koehler has won his last three decisions, posting a 1.80 ERA and racking up a 92.1 percent strand rate in these games.

— Marlins relievers have proven nearly unhittable of late, logging a 1.82 ERA in the last 14 days, the fifth-best mark in the majors. They have combined to produce a 56.1 percent ground ball rate and have allowed just 3.2 percent of fly balls to leave the yard.

WHO’S NOT: RED SOX

— Rick Porcello is not hot. A minor controversy arose surrounding Red Sox manager John Farrell‘s decision to send Justin Masterson to the pen instead of Porcello, and for good reason. During his last five starts, Porcello owns a putrid 0-4 record with a 9.12 ERA and a lowly 56.1 percent strand rate.

— Unfortunately for the Sox, Masterson has not done much better than Porcello since his return from right shoulder tendinitis June 28. In his most recent start, the 6-foot-6 righty lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs.

— The ever-evolving saga of Mike Napoli‘s abysmal 2015 season continued this past week when he logged an .087/.192/.130 slash line with eight strikeouts in 26 plate appearances.

Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon

WHO’S NOT: MARLINS

— Though he still maintains a season average of .339, Dee Gordon has cooled off significantly since his last temperature check. The speedster is hitting .160 over the past week and his strikeout rate has risen to 15.4 percent, while his walk rate has plummeted even further to 3.8 percent.

— Marcell Ozuna has not lived up to expectations in 2015. The slugger who clubbed 23 home runs last year has yet to find the stroke, sending just four over the fence this season. It hasn’t gotten any better for Ozuna of late, either, as he’s slashed just .192/.231/.253 and struck out 28.8 percent of the time during the last month.

— Alongside Ozuna, Ichiro Suzuki has lost the stable veteran bat the Marlins signed him for this offseason. Ichiro has not recorded a hit in his last 30 at-bats dating back to June 19.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-48): L, 3-2, at Syracuse (Nationals)

— LHP Brian Johnson (Boston’€™s No. 6 prospect at MLB.com), making his first start since being removed due to illness on June 29 after throwing five pitches, took the loss (8-6, 2.73 ERA) despite allowing just two unlucky earned runs over five innings.

With two outs in the second inning, PawSox second baseman Jonathan Roof lost an easy pop fly in the afternoon sun and the batter reached as the ball fell on the infield dirt on what was ruled a base hit. The next batter connected on a two-run double over the head of left fielder Carlos Peguero and Syracuse took a 2-0 lead.

Johnson, 24, retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced before being lifted after 87 pitches (54 strikes), finishing with five hits and two walks allowed while striking out five. The 6-foot-4 Johnson, drafted by Boston with the 31st pick of the 2012 draft, is among the International League leaders in wins (second), strikeouts (second), ERA (sixth), and WHIP (first).

— The struggles for LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston’€™s No. 17 prospect at MLB.com) continued, as the 23-year-old surrendered what would eventually prove the decisive run in the sixth inning. Escobar allowed a double, hit a batter, walked a batter, and then hit another to force in a run. Escobar was then pulled for Noe Ramirez, who escaped the jam and finished with 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Escobar was acquired by Boston last summer as part of the return from the San Francisco Giants in the Jake Peavy trade. In seven outings this year for the PawSox since coming off the DL, Escobar has allowed 13 runs in 9 1/3 innings (12.54 ERA).

— Pawtucket dropped their ninth straight game, a span over which they’€™ve scored just 13 total runs. The offense struggled again on Monday, with the PawSox managing just two runs on five hits, four of them singles. In the sixth, a leadoff Roof single and stolen base led to an RBI groundout by DH Rusney Castillo. In the eighth, a Roof double set up shortstop Mike Miller in scoring position and rehabbing right fielder Daniel Nava used another groundout to bring a runner home.

The first five batters in the Pawtucket lineup were a collective 0-for-17 (Nava, Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., Peguero, and Allen Craig). Castillo and Bradley did each draw a walk.

— Bradley was added to the International League All-Star team on Monday, as he was in the major leagues when the original roster was announced. Bradley led the league in fan votes prior to his call up. The 25-year-old has a slash line of .319/.396/.460 with Pawtucket this year over 54 games played. Those slash numbers are good for the third, second, and third best marks, respectively, in the International League in those categories.

Luis Diaz

Luis Diaz

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (31-53): W, 5-4, at Binghamton (Mets)

— RHP Luiz Diaz, who hadn’€™t won a game in his last 24 starts and 366 days dating back to last season, finally picked up a victory (1-7, 6.10 ERA) as he gave up 10 hits, but only two earned runs over six innings. Diaz did allow a two-run home run in the fourth, just the second long ball he’€™s allowed in his last seven outings, but all told Diaz has now allowed three earned runs or less in five of his last six games. The 6-foot-3 Venezuelan was signed by Boston in 2008 as a undrafted free agent. In 2014 combined between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, Diaz was 9-7 with a 3.54 ERA in 26 starts.

— Catcher Jake Romanski, a Carolina League All-Star in the first half of this season with High-A Salem, hit his first Double-A home run and had his first multi-RBI game at that level as his solo blast in the sixth inning proved to be the game’€™s difference maker on the scoreboard. Romanski finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, as he also knocked in a run with a bases loaded single during a three-run Portland fourth inning. Selected by Boston in Round 14 of the 2013 draft out of San Diego State University, Romanski has hits in seven of his last eight games with the Sea Dogs as he’€™s gone 9-for-24 (.375) over that span.

“All I’€™m trying to do is contribute to the team as much as I possibly can,”€ Romanski told the Portland Press Herald. “It’€™s all about winning and trying to help everybody get a [win] every single night.”

— Several Portland batters have modest hit streaks that continued on Monday, as shortstop Marco Hernandez (seven games), DH Sam Travis (six games), third baseman Jantzen Witte (five games), and center fielder Manuel Margot (five games) all reached to keep streaks alive and all scored a run in Monday’€™s ballgame. Witte had two hits and a walk, while Hernandez had two hits including a triple to put his average at .313, currently fourth best in the Eastern League.

— RHP John Cornely picked up his first save for Portland as he pitched a scoreless ninth, allowing one walk, but no hits. Cornely, 26, has now made three consecutive scoreless appearances for the Sea Dogs after giving up three earned runs in an outing on June 29. Acquired by Boston in May from Atlanta in exchange for cash considerations, Cornely made four appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket before being demoted. He has struck out 39 batters in 36 innings in 2015 combining his work with three different teams.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (42-39): Postponed due to rain at Lynchburg (Indians)

— The postponed game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 15 on Salem’€™s next trip to Lynchburg. Salem now returns home to face Carolina (Braves) Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.

— RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (Boston’€™s No. 19 prospect at MLB.com) on Monday was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 29-July 5, his second such award this year. Stankiewicz tied a career-high with nine strikeouts over seven shutout, one-hit, no-walk innings in a victory on July 3 at Myrtle Beach. It was the eighth quality start on the year for Stankiewicz, who was drafted by Boston in the second round of the 2013 draft. Stankiewicz leads the Carolina League with 90 1/3 innings pitched, and his 3.69 ERA is 12th best.

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (43-38): W, 8-7, vs. Savannah (Mets)

— Third baseman Rafael Devers (Boston’€™s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com) and DH Michael Chavis (Boston’€™s No. 10 prospect at MLB.com) each hit two-run home runs, both their seventh homers on the season, as Greenville finally beat Savannah for the first time in their 10th meeting of the season.

Devers’€™ blast traveled 420 feet and hit off of the bottom of the Flour Field scoreboard in right-center as Devers pulled a ball sinking down out of the strike zone. It was Devers’€™ first home run at Greenville’€™s home park this season and he snapped a recent 0-for-15 slump with a 2-for-4 night to go with three RBIs. An international signee by Boston in 2013, Devers was inked for $1.5 million in a signing bonus. Devers had a terrific start to 2015, hitting 56-for-164 (.341) combined in May and June before cooling off with a 20-for-87 June (.230).

Chavis, selected by Boston with the 26th overall pick of the 2014 draft, finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored in addition to his dinger over the Greenville Green Monster in left. It was only the third multi-hit game in his last 36 games, as the 19-year-old has struggled to hit for average all season. His slash line currently sits at .202/.266/.351 with his 83 strikeouts fifth most in the South Atlantic League.

— Second baseman Yoan Moncada (Boston’€™s No. 1 prospect at MLB.com) reached base three times and scored two runs, going 1-for-3 with a single, a walk, and getting on via a hit-by-pitch. After getting plunked in the fifth, Moncada advanced to second on a groundout and then stole his 11th base by taking off for third. Devers followed with a sacrifice fly to bring Moncada home.

Moncada also made an important defensive play in the game, showing his athleticism by backhanding a hot shot slightly to his left, then getting up off a knee to throw to second to start a 4-6-3 double play to end a Savannah threat in the eighth inning.

Over his last 11 games, Moncada is hitting 14-for-41 (.341) with 10 runs scored while raising his batting average 44 points over that span to .244.

— Shortstop Javier Guerra (Boston’€™s No. 15 prospect at MLB.com) and center fielder Bryan Hudson each had two-hit games, while right fielder Joseph Monge came through with the decisive eighth inning RBI single, a night after going 4-for-4. Guerra and Hudson also each stole a base, their fourth and 15th, respectively.

Henry Ramos

Henry Ramos

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (12-6): L, 7-4, at Tri-City (Astros)

— Catcher Austin Rei made his professional debut, hitting in the cleanup spot of the order. Rei played 5 1/2 innings, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout as well as a groundout and pop out to first. The 21-year-old Rei was drafted by Boston in third round of this year’€™s draft out of the University of Washington where he had a slash line of .330/.445/.681 this season to go with seven homers.

— First baseman Tucker Tubbs hit his first professional home run, a solo shot in the ninth, and also reached base on a single and a hit by pitch. Tubbs, a 22-year-old who was selected by Boston in the ninth round of this year’€™s draft, is 10-for-39 (.256) so far in 13 games with Lowell with five extra base hits. Tubbs played four years at the Univeristy of Memphis, hitting a combined .291 with 25 home runs over his four seasons, with 17 of those homers coming in his senior year.

— Rehabbing outfielder Henry Ramos (Boston’€™s No. 18 prospect at MLB.com) went 2-for-3 with an RBI as the DH in his third game with Lowell after playing eight games in the Gulf Coast League. The 23-year-old Ramos, a 6-foot-2 switch hitter from Puerto Rico, has a hit in all three games with the Spinners coming back off of knee surgery which limited him to just five games with Double-A Portland to begin the 2015 season.

Daniel McGrath

Daniel McGrath

ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (11-2): W, 2-0, vs. GCL Rays

— LHP Daniel McGrath continued his rehab assignment (elbow inflammation) as he appeared in his third Gulf Coast League game of 2015. McGrath pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four, walking none, and picking off two runners at first base. The 21-year-old McGrath, signed by Boston in 2012 for $400,000 out of high school in Australia, made six starts earlier this year with High-A Salem and allowed just six earned runs in 30 innings (1.80 ERA) to go with 31 strikeouts before being placed on the disabled list on May 17. The 6-foot-3 McGrath has not allowed a run in six total innings with the GCL Red Sox since coming off the DL.

— RHP Kevin Steen followed McGrath with four shutout innings and picked up the victory (3-0, 0.00 ERA), as the 18-year-old allowed just one hit while striking out four batters and walking none. Steen has not been scored upon in 12 total innings this year, giving up three hits to go with 10 strikeouts and three free passes over his three appearances. Steen was selected by Boston in the ninth round of the 2014 draft and signed for an over-slot value of $255,000. He had originally committed to the University of Tennessee.

— First baseman Jerry Downs reached base three times, with a single and two walks, as he extended his hit streak to four games. Downs, a 21-year-old left-handed batter who was selected by Boston in Round 15 of this year’€™s draft, also successfully stole his third base in his third attempt. Downs played three years of college baseball at NAIA St. Thomas University, where this year he hit .349 with nine homers and 12 steals in 64 games played.

Check out the weekly WEEI.com Farm Report podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird
Wade Miley

Wade Miley

In a battle of former Diamondbacks, Wade Miley and Dan Haren will square off Tuesday night as the Red Sox and Marlins try to get back into their respective division races.

Miley, who spent the first four years of his career in Arizona, has righted the ship since a rocky beginning to the season. Over his last four starts, he is 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA and just one home run allowed.

The southpaw has gone 8-7 on the year with a 4.53 ERA and a 0.8 HR/9 ratio, his lowest mark since his All-Star campaign of 2012. He also maintains a 4.10 FIP, indicating that he has pitched better than his standard numbers suggest. However, Miley is giving up baserunners at the highest rate since his rookie season as he owns a 1.44 WHIP.

In his latest start against the Blue Jays last Thursday, Miley did not pitch his best, but the offense still bailed him out. The 28-year-old lasted just five innings, allowing four runs and tying a career worst with seven walks. Fortunately for the Louisiana native, the Red Sox brought their big sticks to the ballpark. They knocked out Blue Jays starter Matt Boyd before he could record an out and went on to earn Miley the victory in a 12-6 drubbing.

“Wade turned in what I would consider a blue-collar night,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He didn’t have much command, anywhere consistent to where he’s been, but found a way to make some big pitches.”

Miley cannot expect the same kind of run support vs. Haren, one of the strongest veteran pitchers in the majors.

This year, Haren has done what he’s always done. He’s commanded his pitches, limited baserunners and kept the fly ball in the yard. This formula has produced a 6-5 record and a 3.45 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP.

Haren has been one of the most reliable starting pitchers of the last decade. He boasts a 3.75 career ERA and 10 straight seasons with 10-plus wins. He’s logged 215-plus innings seven times and has accumulated a 32.1 WAR.

The 34-year-old Haren has struggled of late, losing his last three decisions. In his previous two starts, he has allowed 17 hits in 11 2/3 innings of work, which has netted him a 5.40 ERA and a .362/.367/.511 opponents’ slash line.

“Definitely have to execute better. … I tried to give us a lift and get us through seven, facing the bottom of the lineup and ended up backfiring on me,” Haren said after his 5-1 loss against the Cardinals on June 25. “I wish I had told them I was done there. It would have probably given us a better chance. It looks like I didn’t pitch good, but I thought I threw the ball all right.”

The Red Sox will be looking for their third straight win Tuesday, and their sixth in their last eight games.

Marlins vs. Miley (LHP)

Dee Gordon (16 plate appearances): .313 AVG/.313 OBP/.625 OPS, 5 strikeouts

Mike Morse (12): .273/.333/.364, 1 double

Jeff Baker (6): .167/.167/.500, 1 triple, 1 RBI

Adeiny Hechavarria (6): .333/.333/.333, 3 strikeouts

Jeff Mathis (5): .200/.200/.400, 1 double, 1 RBI

Derek Dietrich (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts

Cole Gillespie (3): .000/.333/.000

Miguel Rojas (3): .000/.000/.000

Christian Yelich (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts

No other Marlins have faced Miley.

Red Sox vs. Haren (RHP)

David Ortiz (25): .348/.400/.826, 1 triple, 3 HR, 6 RBIs

Mike Napoli (21): .222/.333/.222, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Pablo Sandoval (19): .294/.368/.471, 1 double, 1 triple

Hanley Ramirez (15): .308/.400/.538, 1 double, 1 triple

Alejandro De Aza (9): .222/.222/.222

Shane Victorino (6): .600/.667/1.400, 1 double, 1 HR, 2 RBIs

Ryan Hanigan (3): .000/.000/.000

No other Red Sox have faced Haren.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

Jon Lester lost two no-hit bids on Monday night against the Cardinals, and one of them has been a long time coming.

Jon Lester lost two no-hit bids on Monday night against the Cardinals, and one of them has been a long time coming.

In the second inning against former teammate John Lackey, Lester lined an infield single off of Lackey’s shin, legging out the first hit of his career.

Lester had started his career 0-for-66 (with another 0-for-5 in the World Series) before he finally ended his record run of futility. It was the longest hitless streak to start a career in big league history.

Lester had another no-hit bid end in the seventh when Jhonny Peralta lined a single off the glove of third baseman Kris Bryant with one out. A Bryant error extended the inning, and the Cardinals went on to score two runs to take a 2-0 lead in support of Lackey.

Win or lose, at least Lester doesn’t have to worry about getting that first hit anymore.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Brock Holt wasn’t the only member of the Red Sox to be named an All-Star on Monday.

After being optioned back to Triple-A last week, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was added to the International League All-Star team. He had received the most votes prior to his big league call up on June 25.

Bradley, Jr. is hitting .319 in 54 games for the PawSox this season. He is currently second in the International League in batting (.319), second in on-base percentage (.396) and third in slugging percentage (.460). He also leads the PawSox with 18 doubles and has four home runs to go along with 16 RBIs.

The PawSox also announced left-hander Brian Johnson, who was elected to the International League All-Star Team, will not participate as he would have been unable to pitch in the game as his next PawSox start is July 11.

The Triple-A All-Star Game is slated for Wednesday, July 15 at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

For more Red Sox news, check out weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox have their All-Star representative and as expected, it’s shortstop Xander €… wait a minute, it’s Brock Holt?!?

Brock Holt hit for his first cycle at any level in the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Braves in June. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brock Holt hit for his first cycle at any level in the Red Sox‘ 9-4 win over the Braves in June. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have their All-Star representative and as expected, it’s shortstop Xander €… wait a minute, it’s Brock Holt?!?

In what almost certainly goes down as a surprise even to Holt himself, Royals manager Ned Yost chose the utilityman as Boston’s lone All-Star representative among the reserves announced on Monday night.

“What impressed me is his versatility,” Yost said on the selection show. “Super-utility guys should be celebrated.”

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was widely expected to be the team’s lone All-Star, will instead appear on the five-man final-player ballot, where he’ll square off against Detroit’s Yoenis Cespedes, Minnesota’s Brian Dozier, New York’s Brett Gardner and Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas.

While the choice is a surprise, Holt isn’t undeserving. The 27-year-old is hitting .295 with an .807 OPS while appearing at every position except pitcher and catcher.

This is Holt’s first All-Star berth, though he noted on Sunday that he has made All-Star teams at other levels.

“My first four years in the minor leagues, I made the All-Star team,” he said. “That year I got traded, that was the first time I didn’t make it. I made the Little League All-Star teams all the time.”

Holt open the season on the bench in a reserve role, but basically became a full-time starter in early May, albeit one without a set position. He has started 30 of 32 games since June 3, hitting .303 with a home run and 10 RBIs. Included in that stretch was the game of his life against the Braves on June 16, when he hit for the cycle in a 9-4 victory.

On the season, Holt has two homers, 21 RBIs, and 30 runs. He also ranks seventh in the American League in on base percentage (.383) and 10th in WAR among position players (3.1).

On Sunday, Holt was asked about the possibility of being an All-Star.

“I’m not really thinking about that at all,” he said. “If it happens, great. If not, I’ll enjoy the days off. I’m just trying to go out and help us win.”

Holt becomes the second player featured in the Joel Hanrahan trade with the Pirates that brought him to Boston to become an All-Star. The 2012 deal sent closer Mark Melancon, a 2013 All-Star, to the Pirates.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase