Can Xander Bogaerts get back on track? Bogaerts did lead the team with a .273 average, but his 10 home runs were a disappointment. A two-time Silver Slugger Award winner at a key position (shortstop) can always be a factor. If Bogaerts improves defensively and gets the power back, he can contend.
This is an even number year, so Hanley Ramirez should have a productive 2018. Will it be 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI? Hanley needs the at-bats to have an option kick in and that will be a challenge unless his hitting and hitting with power forces him in the lineup on a regular basis.
Defensively Jackie Bradley is certainly the real deal, but glove alone will not suffice. Bradley hit just .245 and his power will not be in the range of others already mentioned. Even matching his All-Star 2016 (26/87/.267) will not be enough.
Never count out a catcher and that means Christian Vazquez. Vazquez surprise me and just about all Red Sox followers with a .290 average. That, however, will not cut it in the MVP rave unless Vaz morphs into Johnny Bench.
If you could have extrapolated Eduardo Nunez’s 2017 Red Sox statistics over an entire season, then you may have a surprise entry. A .300+ average, excellent base running and some credible power combined with a baseball jack-of-all-trades gives you an under the radar possibility.