2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Boston Red Sox

by Jordan McDonald
2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Boston Red Sox

Welcome to another edition of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive featuring the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox were mostly written off before this season after a disappointing 2020 campaign. However, as manager Alex Cora returned from his season-long suspension, the team has resumed its winning ways in 2021. They have four hitters that are currently raking and show no signs of slowing down.

They will need the bats to remain hot if they plan to clinch the vaunted AL East. Let's examine the heavy hitters on the Red Sox and see if they can remain productive down the stretch.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Statcast Deep Dive: Boston Red Sox

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Xander Bogaerts

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When you envision the league's best shortstops, Xander is often ranked lower than his counterparts. But he deserves recognition as not only one of the best players at his position but one of the best players in the league.

Xander is playing at an MVP-caliber level slashing .339/.398/.588 with 10 home runs so far this season. He doesn't profile as your typical power hitter but the Red Sox have slotted him as their cleanup hitter anyways. But he's seen an increase in his Hard Hit Rate by almost six percent from last season. And his Barrel Rate is over 10 percent, which is five percent higher than his career average.

He has also recorded an absurd Sweet Spot Percentage of 40.8 and that has contributed to an xBA of .318 (98th percentile), and an xSLG of .530. Plus, his weighted On-Base Average is currently .423 and that is ranked in the top three percent of the entire league.

Xander is having a special season and he should find himself on plenty of winning rosters this season.

Rafael Devers

Devers is another Red Sox infielder who is having himself a career season. He is currently hitting .280/.354/.606 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs, which looks phenomenal on the surface. But his Statcast page suggests his season is even better than we think.

He is displaying an incredible power streak with his Hard Hit Rate of 53.3 percent being ranked in top five percent across the league. Also, his Barrell Rate has skyrocketed up to 18.9 percent from 12.1 last season. Compared with the rest of the league, Devers is ranked fifth overall in Barrels per Plate Appearance with 11.8.

The only downside for Devers is his spot in the loaded Red Sox batting order. He is primarily the fifth hitter and gets plenty of RBI opportunities with the hitters in front of him. But overall, he will get less plate appearances by hitting so low in the order, which somewhat caps his overall value. However, Devers is supremely talented and he is only getting better as a major-league hitter.

J.D. Martinez

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Nobody saw their stock plummet as Martinez did heading into this season. The disappointing slash line of .213/.291/.389 and seven home runs in 54 games from last season was obviously to blame. However, he has responded with a resurgent .320/.395/.575 and 12 home runs in 47 games.

Last season was truly an anomaly and an outlier compared to the rest of his career. He posted the lowest xBA, xSLG, wOBA, AND Hard Hit Rate ever since Statcast started recording in 2015. But during the four seasons between 2016-2019, Martinez ranked in the top ten percent in every single one of those aforementioned stats.

He has found himself back atop the Statcast leaderboards and looking like his previous self. And making his season look even better, Martinez is currently recording career highs in both walk and strikeout rate.

Those managers who got Martinez at a discount on draft day shouldn't try to sell high on him. The comeback appears to be legitimate and should be protected at all costs.

Alex Verdugo

Verdugo is known as the centerpiece of the haul the Red Sox received from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade. And to his credit, he has performed admirably for someone who was replacing a former MVP.

For the season, Verdugo is slashing .294/.354/.459 with six home runs and 20 RBIs splitting his time between all three outfield spots. The team is bullish on his hitting abilities by slotting him second in the batting order, setting the table for Martinez, Bogaerts, and Devers, in that order. He may not get the recognition as those players previously mentioned, but Verdugo is still a solid hitter in his own right.

One of his best qualities is limiting the strikeouts, as his strikeout rate of 12.4 percent is ranked in the 96th percentile in the league. He also doesn't have as much power as his teammates, but for the first time in his career, he has an average Exit Velocity over 90 MPH and a Hard Hit Rate of over 40 percent. In addition, his Sweet Spot Percentage of 38.4 is the best of his career by a long stretch.

Verdugo has recorded an xBA of .303 for this season, which suggests that he can continue to produce at this level. And if he remains in the second spot in the batting lineup, his other counting starts should also see a boost.

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers

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