Red Sox MVP candidates face their competition with Cleveland Indians in town
Boston’s dynamic duo may be the frontrunners for the MVP but the Indians have a pair of superstars firmly in the mix.
Jose Ramirez is third in the league with a 7.8 WAR. Fangraphs actually puts him ahead of Betts at a league-leading 8.2 WAR (Betts is second with a 7.7 fWAR). He’s eighth in the league with a .300 batting average and fourth with a .430 wOBA and 174 wRC+.
Ramirez has been going back-and-forth with Martinez for the home run lead over the last few weeks. He enters the day second in that category with 37 and he’s third with 91 RBI. Ramirez also has a share of the league-lead with 27 steals, making him the only 35/25 player in the majors this season.
He’s not the Gold Glove candidate that Mookie is but Ramirez does provide above-average defense at the hot corner and has shown the versatility to handle other positions in previous seasons.
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Ramirez is essentially a slugger who rivals the power production of Martinez, only with baserunning and defense that nearly matches Betts. Martinez has a slight edge in the power department but he’s not a five-tool player. Betts is a better defensive player and about Ramirez’ equal on the base paths but doesn’t have quite the same power stroke. That makes Ramirez the biggest threat to steal the MVP from one of the Red Sox stars, especially if voters split the ballot between Boston’s bats.
Don’t sleep on Francisco Lindor as a darkhorse candidate in this race. He’s fourth in the league with a 6.9 WAR (6.6 fWAR). His 28 home runs and 74 RBI are the most in the league among leadoff hitters. He also has a slight edge over Betts for the league lead with 102 runs scored.
Lindor is second among AL shortstops with 13 defensive runs saved. He doesn’t have the off the charts defensive metrics that Betts has but Lindor does play a premium position at shortstop.
He currently trails the rest of this pack in most categories but not by much. Lindor has a significant edge in the offensive categories over anyone else at his position, so when you consider that this production is coming from a shortstop it makes it all the more impressive. He’s close enough to the rest of his competition that a strong finish could potentially push Lindor to the top.