The 2016 Boston Red Sox have been one of the most exciting teams in baseball so far. David Ortiz is one of the most entertaining characters in the game and is leaving nothing on the field in his farewell tour. But even more exciting has been the emergence of young talent in Boston. Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. have provided us with some great baseball this season, and all are showing their huge potential.
Last season we saw what Xander Bogaerts is capable of. He had a .320/.355/.421 slash line and ended the season with a 4.3 WAR. This season, he’s been even better with a slash line of .345/.396/.500. He already has 3.1 WAR with increased power production. And there was that 26 game hit streak. He hits, plays good defense, and can run the bases. Bogaerts is on his way to becoming one of the best players in baseball and a legitimate MVP candidate.
Bogaerts isn’t the only Red Sox youngster making waves this season, though. Mookie Betts deserves some recognition. Originally a second basemen, Betts now finds himself in the Red Sox outfield, and despite playing a different position he still plays above-average defense. But, this season he’s been impressive at the plate, exceeding almost all expectations. He’s hit 14 home runs this season, good enough for sixth in the American League. He’s second on the Red Sox with 45 RBIs. And, he leads all of baseball with 53 runs scored. Red Sox fans should be excited about Mookie.
This season has also seen the emergence of Jackie Bradley Jr. Always known for his defense, Bradley struggled at the plate for the Red Sox. But this season, things have finally seemed to click. He currently has a .323/.400/.582 slash line, and put together a 29 game hit streak. While he’s a bit older than Bogaerts and Betts, at 26, he’s still young and finally living up to his potential.
Now usually when teams have this kind of young talent in the pros, we’d assume that their farm system is depleted. Not the case for the Red Sox. MLBpipeline.com currently has the Red Sox ranked as the sixth best farm system in baseball. They have four players in the top 100, and none of those guys rank lower than 39th.
Ultimately, the Red Sox and their young talent are exciting. But, they are also good. They have the second ranked offense in baseball, and if they can get some pitching help before they trade deadline, they’ll be serious contenders. Regardless, they’ll be an exciting team to watch this season and in the years to come.
Stats courtesy of FanGraphs