Red Sox

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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White Sox pitching coach 'concerned' about ex-Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech

michael_kopech_white_sox.jpg
File photo

White Sox pitching coach 'concerned' about ex-Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech

As some MLB players choose to not participate in the 2020 season, it's important to remember some things are bigger than baseball.

Chicago White Sox pitcher and former Boston Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech missed the start of camp due to a "personal matter," and he recently made the decision to opt out of the upcoming campaign. It's unclear exactly why Kopech opted out, but the 24-year-old has been open about his battles with anxiety and depression. For that reason, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper expressed his concern about Kopech's well-being.

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"I don't know what is going on with Michael, but I know he deals with some anxiety and depression, and my thought is, I sure hope he's OK," Cooper told the Chicago Sun-Times. "And I hope he gets to where he needs to be, where he's feeling good and wants to come back, because we will welcome him back with open arms."

"Last time I saw him in spring training, he was in a great place," Cooper added. "But let me put it this way: I sure hope the kid is OK. I'm concerned that he's not OK."

Kopech has not publicly discussed his decision to sit out of the upcoming season. Cooper notes the right-hander is "not in the mood to talk right now" to the media.

After missing the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, Kopech was slated to compete for a spot in the White Sox rotation. Of course, his mental health comes first, and we hope he returns to Chicago's pitching staff in 2021 under better circumstances.

"It's Michael's decision, and we have no idea what's going on in his world, and as a team, we support him 100 percent," White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon told the Sun-Times. "It's a tough loss. He's a guy who can boost our rotation or wherever he would line up in the row of arms. But looking forward to having him back next year."

Kopech was involved in the five-player trade that brought Chris Sale to the Red Sox in 2016.

Ron Roenicke sheds light on plans for Red Sox starting rotation

Ron Roenicke sheds light on plans for Red Sox starting rotation

The Boston Red Sox starting rotation is going to look a lot different during the shortened 2020 season.

With Chris Sale out due to Tommy John surgery and David Price now on the Los Angeles Dodgers, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be counted on to anchor the pitching staff. Then, it'll be Nathan Eovaldi and newcomer Martin Perez in the No. 2 and 3 spots.

After that are are a couple of question marks. Right-hander Collin McHugh, who signed a one-year deal with Boston in March, likely will miss some time to begin the season as he continues to rehab his injured elbow. That leaves the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation wide open.

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After the team's intrasquad scrimmage Sunday, manager Ron Roenicke told reporters that southpaw Brian Johnson is a candidate for the No. 4 spot and he may roll with an "opener" in the No. 5 slot.

So in order, the starting rotation to begin the season would be:

1. Eduardo Rodriguez
2. Nathan Eovaldi
3. Martin Perez
4. Brian Johnson
5. Opener/TBD

Right-hander Ryan Weber is expected to be in the mix as well, but how he'll fit into the rotation remains to be seen.

It definitely doesn't look like pitching will be a strength for Boston in its 60-game campaign. Making matters even more difficult is Rodriguez's positive COVID-19 test, which could further complicate things to start the season.

Opening Day for the Red Sox is scheduled for July 24 vs. the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.