Red Sox

MLB odds: Red Sox star Rafael Devers among favorites to lead league in hits

MLB odds: Red Sox star Rafael Devers among favorites to lead league in hits

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is one of the best young players in Major League Baseball.

Devers made his MLB debut in 2017 and has steadily improved each of the last two years. His first full season came in Boston's historic 2018 campaign when he batted .240 with 21 home runs and 66 RBIs in 120 games. Devers was part of a Red Sox lineup that helped pave the way for a franchise-record 108 wins and a World Series championship.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The 23-year-old's breakout campaign came last year. He set career highs with a .311 batting average, 32 homers, 115 RBIs, 129 runs scored and 201 hits. Those 201 hits were the second-most in baseball, trailing only Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield's 206.

Oddsmakers are expecting another fantastic offensive season from Devers, who is among the betting favorites to lead the MLB in hits during the shortened 60-game season.

Here are the latest odds for the MLB hits leader, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:

Jose Altuve, Astros: +1200
Nolan Arenado, Rockies: +1200
Whit Merrifield, Royals: +1200
Rafael Devers, Red Sox: +1300
D.J. LeMahieu, Yankees: +1500
Francisco Lindor, Indians: +1500
Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks: +1500
Ozzie Albies, Braves: +2000
Trea Turner, Nationals: +2000
Tim Anderson: White Sox: +2200

Having a fast start is even more important in a shortened season because catching the leaders is obviously more difficult when there are fewer games. Devers has not started fast in each of the last two years. He batted .258 in April in 2018 and .282 in April last season.

The middle of the season is when Devers really took off in 2019. He collected 39 hits and batted a season-high .358 in July. If Devers is able to rediscover that form in the summer's hottest months, he should rank among the MLB's hit leaders throughout 2020 and have a tremendous chance at finishing above his peers.

Red Sox' Alex Verdugo robs home run, celebrates with awesome reaction

Red Sox' Alex Verdugo robs home run, celebrates with awesome reaction

Alex Verdugo made best play of his young Boston Red Sox career Friday night, and he was well aware of it.

With the Red Sox leading the Blue Jays by two runs in the ninth inning, Verdugo leaped in front of the right field bullpen at Fenway Park to rob Toronto's Travis Shaw of a home run.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The play was impressive in its own right, but the 24-year-old outfielder punctuated it with a great reaction.

Verdugo's scream of celebration was audible on the game broadcast (even above the fake crowd noise), a sign of just how fired up he was about the catch.

"I would say I’ve never screamed like that before,” Verdugo said after Boston's 5-3 win, via the Associated Press. “I used to be a pitcher back in the day. I was pretty hyped up."

Verdugo had two other reasons to be hyped up: He also blasted a pair of solo home runs, giving him three on the young season and earning a spot alongside legendary left-handed slugger Mo Vaughn.

The Red Sox aren't expected to make much noise this season, but it appears the former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder will do his best to raise the decibel level.

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Highlights: Alex Verdugo homers twice in Boston's second straight win

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Highlights: Alex Verdugo homers twice in Boston's second straight win

FINAL SCORE: Boston Red Sox 5, Toronto Blue Jays 3

IN BRIEF: Alex Verdugo homered twice and Mitch Moreland added one of his own in the Red Sox' win over the Blue Jays on Friday night. The Red Sox capitalized on a woeful outing from Blue Jays starter Tanner Roark, who walked five batters and allowed four runs in three innings pitched.

Sox starter Ryan Weber allowed two runs in three innings, then the bullpen put together an admirable effort to preserve the lead.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

BOX SCORE

RED SOX RECORD: 5-8

HIGHLIGHTS

Well, that escalated quickly

Verdugo's first Fenway homer

Moreland's two-run shot

Vlad Jr. brings Jays within one

Homer No. 2 for Verdugo...

...and then he robs one!

UP NEXT
vs. Blue Jays, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., NESN
vs. Blue Jays, Sunday, 1:35 p.m., NESN