2019 Red Sox midseason superlatives
We've reached the MLB All-Star break, and while it wasn't a stellar first half for the Red Sox by any stretch of the imagination, they've managed to hold their heads above water.
The defending champs entered the break with a 49-41 record that has them nine games out of the American League East and two games out of the AL Wild Card. Boston's middling season can be blamed on multiple factors, including down seasons from impact players and inconsistency from both the starting rotation and bullpen.
On the other hand, there have been some breakout performances that have helped Boston stay in the mix as we get ready for the second half.
So which Red Sox players have been the most and least valuable so far? Who are the biggest surprises and disappointments? Let's get into it. . .
Most Valuable Player
It's a shame Bogaerts didn't even get named as a finalist to start in this year's All-Star Game.
The 26-year-old is second among American League shortstops in home runs (17) and leads in doubles (29), RBI (65) and OPS (.919). Bogaerts -- with Rafael Devers not far behind -- has been the star of this team so far this season
What a year it has been for the 22-year-old.
In all of 2018, Devers hit .240 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and a meager .731 OPS. This season, the third baseman is hitting .324 with 16 home runs, 62 RBI and a .923 OPS.
Benintendi heated up a bit in June, but overall it's been a down year for the 25-year-old. He even admitted he hasn't felt "as hitter-ish" so far this season.
There's plenty of time for Benintendi to turn things around, but his 2019 undoubtedly has been a major disappointment. An honorable mention here is Chris Sale, who enters the break with a 3-8 record and a 4.04 ERA.
Suddenly, Christian Vazquez is one of the more reliable hitters in this Red Sox lineup.
What the 28-year-old has done at the plate this year really hasn't made any sense whatsoever. Just look at his stats from all of 2018 compared to 2019 thus far. . .
2018: .207/.257/.283, 3 HR, 16 RBI (80 games)
2019: .299/.332/.520, 14 HR, 41 RBI (74 games)
Ryan Brasier avoiding a line drive to the face vs. Yankees in London (7/29)
Since we went with Jackie Bradley Jr. for the Gold Glove and there are several ridiculous catches of his you could put here (including the one in the previous slide), we'll go in a different direction for this one.
Brasier's catlike reflexes on a screaming line drive prevented what could have been a serious injury for the right-hander. Of all non-JBJ catches, Brasier's takes the cake.
Most Likely to Improve in Second Half
It's not that Betts has been "bad," per se. It's just that his numbers are closer to his down 2017 season than his MVP 2018 campaign.
Expect to see more glimpses of MVP Betts as the Red Sox battle for a playoff berth in the second half.
Most Valuable Pitcher
With a rock-solid 3.24 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, Price really has been the only reliable starter in the Red Sox rotation up to this point.
Not much competition for this one, but Workman has been a major bright spot for a bullpen that has been a huge issue this year.
The 30-year-old boasts a 1.79 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and a whopping 12.3 K/9 in 43 appearances.
6/17 at Minnesota Twins: 2-0
Rick Porcello pitched an absolute gem, blanking the homer-happy Minnesota Twins in seven innings pitched and tallying eight strikeouts. The victory extended Boston's win streak to six games.
6/22 vs. Toronto Blue Jays: 8-7
The Red Sox held a 6-1 lead heading into the seventh inning vs. the lowly Blue Jays. Then, the bullpen happened.
Toronto tacked on seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings in what was an epic collapse for Boston. The loss highlighted the ongoing issues within the Red Sox 'pen and halted any momentum gained from the six-game win streak they had just a few days earlier.