Red Sox have only AL hitters to produce these impressive stats
By Sean Penney
Three Boston Red Sox hitters have complied a statistical achievement that no other hitter in the American League has done this season.
Part of the joy of being a baseball writer is the opportunity to play with statistics. Numbers can be manipulated to enhance an argument, crafted to fit a narrative. In some cases, these numbers can even lie to us. Then there are times when a particular stat stands out enough to leave us in awe. A trio of Boston Red Sox hitters have combined to produce a statistical achievement that should catch your eye.
There are only three American League hitters who enter the day batting .300+ with a .900+ OPS and 25+ home runs. All three of them play for the Red Sox.
Rafael Devers: .327 AVG, .954 OPS, 25 HR
Xander Bogaerts: .308 AVG, .947 OPS, 27 HR
J.D. Martinez: .308 AVG, .943 OPS, 28 HR
All three rank top five in the league in batting average, top seven in OPS, and top 20 in home runs.
Are these benchmarks completely arbitrary? Of course. Mike Trout misses the cut because he’s only batting .298 this season. A couple of hits tonight and he’ll join the club. He’s still the best hitter in baseball, leading the league with 40 homers and a 1.109 OPS.
Carlos Santana and George Springer are both batting at least .290 and meet the other criteria. Jose Altuve falls a few homers short. There are several other great hitters in the league who land somewhere between very good and elite in these offensive categories. The Red Sox have the only bats who check each of these boxes.
We should also note that Nolan Arenado, Freddie Freeman, Cody Bellinger, Anthony Rendon, and Christian Yelich all join the list if we extend our sample to the National League. What Boston’s bats are accomplishing isn’t that rare. This is why messing around with stats is fun! We’re intentionally ignoring the hitters from the senior circuit in order to fit our narrative. The statistic remains true… with a grain of salt.
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Part of why we use these arbitrary figures is to emphasize a larger point. The Red Sox have an elite offense. Boston is second in the league in runs scored for a reason. They own the best team batting average in the AL at .275 while ranking 4th with a .822 OPS and 193 home runs.
The Red Sox lineup is deep but the trio that makes up the No. 2-4 spots in the order have made them an offensive juggernaut. That’s without even mentioning their leadoff hitter who happens to be the reigning MVP! Mookie Betts doesn’t meet any of our above criteria, hitting .281 with a .878 OPS and 20 home runs, yet he still remains arguably the team’s best all-around player.
Baseball is a numbers game and those numbers can be used to tell a story. Mold them correctly and you can essentially tell any story you want. The Red Sox don’t have the three best hitters in baseball but we can make it seem that way by highlighting three specific stats they each excel in. It’s admittedly an intentional manipulation of statistics but that doesn’t mean it’s not impressive. When three Red Sox players accomplish something that nobody else in the league has done, it’s going to catch our attention.