Red Sox: Eduardo Nunez has been the best player in MLB over the past week

BOSTON, MA - JULY 31: Eduardo Nunez
BOSTON, MA - JULY 31: Eduardo Nunez /

The Boston Red Sox’ lone hitter acquired at the deadline has paid dividends lately.

The trade that brought Eduardo Nunez to the Red Sox largely flew under the radar outside of Boston and San Francisco where he previously played. Despite his career year at the plate, Nunez was more or less an “underwhelming” player as many analysts described. He’d only been worth 1.1 career fWAR upon arrival, and while he had the ability to play nearly every position, he had never excelled defensively either. It’s hard to blame the media for overlooking his acquisition.

Nunez was also never supposed to occupy a starting role in Boston. He was meant to help fill the season-long void at third, but in a supplementary role to 20-year-old Rafael Devers. Outside of that most expected him to pick up slack for Dustin Pedroia at second and Xander Bogaerts at short when needed. Instead, Nunez has been thrust into a pennant race, starting at second while Pedroia sits on the 10-day disabled list and batting in the heart of the order.

In six games with the Red Sox, he’s posted a ridiculous .481/.517/.852 slash line with two home runs, four runs scored, and 10 RBIs. By fWAR, he’s been worth 0.7 wins in that span – more than any other player in the major leagues.

Understandably, he’s been forced to share the spotlight of success with Devers, who has been on a torrid pace himself, but not enough can be said about how effective Nunez has been since moving to Boston.

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If you take a quick look at the major league leaderboards over the past seven days, which I find myself spending far too much time on, you’ll find Nunez at the top of nearly every list. Since joining the Red Sox his six extra base hits are the most in baseball. He’s also first in RBIs, second in steals (3), third in batting average and third in wRC+ (263). Simply put, Eduardo Nunez has been the best player in baseball over the past week. Better than Mike Trout. Better than Andrew McCutchen. And better than Paul Goldschmidt.

In fact, the Red Sox have three names in the top-four by WAR over that span – including Christian Vazquez and Rafael Devers who are third and fourth respectively. After stumbling out of the gates post-All Star break, it’s been three unlikely heroes that have put the Red Sox back in control of the division.

After Thursday night’s 9-5 win over the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park, the Red Sox now hold a two-game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East. Both teams are trending up, so it’s not as if the Sox look poised to run away with it as they did at the beginning of July, but their turnaround of late has been spectacular.

Coming out of the All-Star break, they simply couldn’t find a way to put runs on the board. In their first 14 games after the break, they failed to score more than three runs in exactly half of their contestants – leading to a 5-9 record. In the five games following, they’ve averaged 7.8 runs. It’s no surprise that they’ve now won four of five to find themselves atop the division.

Next: Red Sox aggressiveness on the base paths has been leading to outs

All of a sudden, the Red Sox’ bats have come alive, thanks in large to their newly acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez. So much for him being just another underwhelming trade deadline acquisition.