MLB Standings Watch: Boston Red Sox are rolling

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It wasn’t long ago that the Boston Red Sox were being left for dead after falling to as many as ten games back in the rather mediocre AL East. What a difference one good week can make.

The Red Sox have won three straight and seven of their last nine to cut their divisional deficit in half. With the division leading New York Yankees coming to town this weekend, Boston will have a chance to close the gap even further heading into the All-Star break.

A great deal of credit for this resurgence goes to three young stars hitting at the top of the order.

Brock Holt was a surprising choice to represent the Red Sox in this year’s All-Star game, but a deserving one. His numbers don’t really stand out, since he’s not contending for a batting title and doesn’t hit for power or steal many bases, so his performance has been flying under the radar. Now he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. The Brock Star is 9th in the league with a .381 OBP and his 3.1 WAR is the 11th best. A great deal of his value comes from his versatility, which has allowed him to seamlessly slide into various positions, making him a better fit coming off the bench for the All-Star team ahead of some players with flashier numbers.

Xander Bogaerts has become one of the latest casualties of the ridiculous fan voting process. The 22-year old leads all AL shortstops in RBI (40), OPS (.759) and WAR (2.6). There’s no doubt that he should make the team, but over zealous Royals fans landed Alcides Escobar the starting spot. Bogaerts can still make the squad by winning the fan vote for the final spot, but he will have to contend with Royals fans dominating the voting process again by selecting Mike Moustakas.

We can put Mookie Betts in the same boat, considering the Royals managed to get two of their outfielders voted in as starters. Betts is one of only five players in the league with at least 9 home runs and double-digit steals, putting him on pace to challenge for his first career 20-20 season. He is also 6th in the league with a 4.0 WAR, putting him just ahead of starter Lorenzo Cain of the Royals.

Bogaerts and Betts are a pair of talented 22-year olds that will likely end up on several All-Star teams in the future. It’s a shame they may not make it this year, but their primary concern is helping the Red Sox get back in the playoff race.