MLB

These stats show Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts is legit AL MVP candidate

These stats show Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts is legit AL MVP candidate

Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts won the American League MVP last season, and one of his teammates is making a compelling case for the award in 2019.

Xander Bogaerts is the hottest player in Major League Baseball right now. The Red Sox shortstop is batting .600 (12-for-20) with four home runs, nine RBI and seven runs in the five games since the All-Star break.

Overall, Bogaerts is batting .312 with 21 homers, 74 RBI and a .399 on-base percentage. He's been Boston's most productive hitter and he's on pace to set several career highs.

Bogaerts deserves to be in the AL MVP conversation, and the stats in the tweet below help create a compelling case for the young star.

The leading candidate for AL MVP is -- surprise, surprise -- Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout, who's finished first or second in the voting for this award in six of the last seven seasons.

Here's where Trout ranks among AL players in the same categories listed in the tweet above.

51 XBH (T-1st)
75 RBI (1st)
74 runs (T-2nd)
.305 avg (8th)
.666 SLG (1st)
.455 OBP (1st)
1.121 OPS (1st)
20 2B (T-19th)
30 HR (1st)
95 hits (T-22nd)

One factor that could help swing the voting is the postseason races. Both the Red Sox and Angels don't have much of a chance to win their respective divisions, but an AL wild-card berth certainly is possible for each club. The Red Sox are three games behind the second wild-card spot, while the Angels are 4.5 games back. Trout has been to the playoffs only once in his career, and he'd probably have more than two MVP awards if the Angels had been more competitive earlier in his career.

Bogaerts needs an incredible second half of the year to win AL MVP, but there's no question he deserves to be mentioned as a legitimate candidate right now.

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Celtics' Enes Kanter 'excited' to watch Red Sox, 'see what baseball is all about'

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USA TODAY Sports

Celtics' Enes Kanter 'excited' to watch Red Sox, 'see what baseball is all about'

Enes Kanter officially became a member of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, and he wasted no time winning over the fans.

First, Kanter trolled ex-Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving with a hilarious comment during he and Kemba Walker's introductory press conference Wednesday at the Auerbach Center.

In a separate scrum with the media, he professed his fandom for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The 27-year-old center also is curious about the game of baseball, a sport that doesn't have a major presence where he grew up in Turkey. Don't be surprised to see Kanter watching the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park sometime soon.

"I might actually go to a Red Sox game today," Kanter told reporters. "We don't have baseball in Turkey, and my friend told me that people go to baseball games just to drink and eat hot dogs, and it takes four hours. I don't drink, by the way, but I might go check it out, see the fans and see what baseball is all about, because I don't even know the rules. I'm definitely excited about it."

Kanter, and his manager, also sound intruiged by the famous Fenway Frank hot dogs.

A trip to Fenway Park on Kanter's cheat day sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon or night in Boston and learn about the city. 

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MLB trade rumors: This NL team had interest in Andrew Cashner before Red Sox deal

MLB trade rumors: This NL team had interest in Andrew Cashner before Red Sox deal

The Boston Red Sox were able to add depth to their rotation with the acquisition of starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, but before completing a trade with the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, at least one National League team was interested in his services.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday the Philadelphia Phillies were interested in Cashner, but ultimately decided to pass with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching. Here's why:

*The Phillies had interest in right-hander Andrew Cashner before the Orioles traded him to the Red Sox, but backed off in part due to concerns about the pitcher’s makeup.

Several of the Phillies’ acquisitions last season did not mix well in their clubhouse. 

The Phillies might have lucked out in this situation.

Cashner's debut with the Red Sox came Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, and it was a lackluster performance. The veteran right-hander gave up eight hits, six runs (five earned) with two walks and two strikeouts over five innings. It would be foolish and unfair to call the Cashner trade a failure after just one outing, but he had allowed five earned runs in his previous five starts combined before Tuesday's loss.

The Red Sox lost 10-4 as their disappointing post-All Star break stretch continued.

Boston is three games behind the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card playoff spot in the American League entering Wednesday's games. It's not an insurmountable gap, but for the defending World Series champions to return to the postseason, the starting pitching must improve quite a bit. Cashner will need to be part of that.

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