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Red Sox 2016 All Star Candidates

Heading into the 2016 season, the Red Sox have six players who are legitimate candidates to be All Stars.  This is a big difference from last year considering that the Sox had just one All Star who was really just a utility player in Brock Holt.  They now have a lot more talent in 2016.  This is less about being in the actual game in July and more about the high level of talent the Sox have this year.  The Red Sox should be back to contending with their superstars leading the way.  In today’s post, we rank the six players who have the best chance to be in the 2016 MLB All Star Game.

#1.  David Price –  This is a no-brainer.  Price has made the AL All Star Team in each of the past five seasons.  Anything less than an All Star appearance and another elite season would be a disappointment.  Price is a true ace who is fully capable of winning 20 games on a team that should provide him with great run support.  Price has led the AL in ERA in two of the past four seasons including last year when he posted a 2.45 ERA.  Price is a top Cy Young candidate once again and he is the guy that could put the Red Sox on top of the AL East.

 

#2.  Xander Bogaerts –  Bogaerts was robbed of being named to the All Star Team in 2015.  He posted very solid numbers in the first half of the season.  Brock Holt got picked over him simply because he could play more positions.  In the second half, Bogaerts proved to everyone why he’s the best shortstop in the American League.  Bogaerts led all AL shortstops in hits, RBI, batting average, OBP, Slugging %, and WAR.  He won the Silver Slugger Award for shortstops and he was also an elite defender.  He’s the clear-cut #1 shortstop in the American League.  At age 23, we can expect Bogaerts to continue to improve.  The sky is the limit here.  He’ll likely be an MVP candidate for many years to come.

#3.  Mookie Betts –  Like Bogaerts, Betts is a rising star at age 23.  Last season he posted a .291 average with 18 home runs and 77 RBI.  The power numbers from the leadoff spot were particularly impressive.  He had an .820 OPS.  Betts finished 19th in the AL MVP race last season on a last place team.  Now to this year.  Betts will continue to leadoff and his numbers should continue to improve.  He’ll likely move to right field this year and, after a solid season in his first year in the outfield, he projects to be very strong defensively.  A .300 average with 20 + home runs is likely with the potential of being a top 10 player in the American League.

#4.  David Ortiz –  The only things that would keep Ortiz from an All Star appearance would be an injury or another slow start.  Ortiz has historically had some challenging times at the plate in April and May and then he went on tears in June.  30 home runs and 100 RBI is the norm.  He’s the best DH in the American League and that shouldn’t change this year.  Another thing working in his favor as that he’ll have an advantage of getting selected considering this is his last season.  MLB will want him in this game and it would be a great opportunity to celebrate his achievements.

#5.  Craig Kimbrel – Kimbrel has been an All Star in four of the past five seasons.  He didn’t make the NL All Star Team last year, but all signs are pointing towards him being back there this year.  On a team with a great lineup, solid starting pitching, and an electric bullpen, Kimbrel will have plenty of opportunities to deliver.  He has a great opportunity to lead the AL in saves.  This is a guy who had between 39 – 50 saves in five consecutive seasons.  Expect great things.

#6.  Dustin Pedroia –  This one really comes down to staying on the field.  Pedroia has struggled with injuries the past few years.  Last season, he looked like he was getting back to his 2013 All Star form, but injuries impacted his ability to become elite again.  At age 32, can Pedroia get back to being elite?  If he does, the Red Sox lineup will benefit immensely.  How about a top four of Betts, a healthy Pedroia, Bogaerts, and Ortiz?

We’re only in early March, but it’s exciting to think about six Red Sox players who have a legit chance to be All Stars this year.  In summary, it’s a team loaded with potential and current superstars.  Plus, there are other players like Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez who could surprise some people and get to the big game in July.

Good times are ahead, Sox fans!

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