Three Boston Red Sox players were added as All-Star reserves
Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers made history this week when they became the first Boston Red Sox players to start an All-Star game together at shortstop and third base. Now we’ve learned that a few of their teammates will be joining them in Colorado for the Midsummer Classic.
Major League Baseball revealed this year’s All-Star reserves and pitchers on Sunday, a list that includes a trio of Red Sox players.
J.D. Martinez has been named an All-Star for the fourth time in his career and the third time as a member of the Red Sox. The veteran designated hitter has washed away the bitter taste of a miserable 2020 with a strong bounce-back campaign, hitting .303 with a .926 OPS. He has blasted 17 home runs and ranks seventh in the AL with 56 RBI.
Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani has been one of the best stories of the year, making him the easy choice for the starting DH role. There was some question as to whether or not that would leave room for Martinez considering the AL doesn’t always carry a backup DH. Ohtani was also selected to the team as a pitcher, making him the first player in MLB history to be named an All-Star as a pitcher and hitter. Tasking him with double duty might have made it easier to carry multiple DHs.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will make his first All-Star appearance. Nasty Nate has ascended to the top of a Red Sox rotation that has exceeded expectations. He’s tied for second in the AL with nine wins, a total he’s only topped once in his career.
Eovaldi owns a solid 3.41 ERA and his 2.55 FIP suggests he’s pitched even better than that. That in part is due to allowing only four home runs in 97 2/3 innings for a league-leading 0.4 HR/9 rate. According to FanGraphs, Eovaldi is tied for the AL lead among qualified pitchers with 3.2 fWAR.
The Red Sox rewarded Eovaldi with a lucrative contract for his 2018 postseason heroics. His salary became a source of some resentment from the fan base when he struggled to live up to that contract the last two seasons but nobody is complaining now. He’s been worth every cent this season.
Matt Barnes is another first-time All-Star who is thriving in his first year as the full-time closer. He has converted 18 of 22 save opportunities and ranks second in the AL in saves. His 1.7 fWAR is tied for the league lead among AL relievers.
While he had a reputation for being erratic in previous seasons, Barnes has been aggressive in attacking the strike zone this year. He finally trusts that he has the stuff to blow hitters away without resorting to nibbling on the corners. This has led to a career-best 2..75 ERA,15.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9.
Boston’s five All-Stars give them more than any other major league team. The last time the Red Sox sent five players to the All-Star Game was 2018, a season in which they set a franchise record for wins on their way to a World Series championship. Martinez and the injured Chris Sale are the only players among those five who are still with the Red Sox organization.
It’s fitting that the AL roster is packed with Red Sox considering they entered the day with the league’s best record and a four-game lead in their division. Their success warrants having the most All-Stars and the honor is well deserved for each of them.