Red Sox “cornerstone” players Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers nominated for Silver Sluggers

Hours after Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom called them “cornerstone players,” Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers were each nominated for a Silver Slugger award.

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe also earned a nod, hitting 31 regular-season home runs.

The Red Sox season was surprisingly excellent, and the team outperformed expectations and projections by a significant amount. However, the successes of Bogaerts and Devers were never in doubt; both players propped up struggling Sox teams in 2019 and 2020 and continued to thrive this season.

Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts led American League shortstops in OBP, slugging, and OPS in 2021

Bogaerts made his debut in 2013, and spent the season making franchise history. He played in his 1,000th career game, and with every home run he hit, he surpassed Red Sox legends, moving up all-time lists.

Among American League batters in 2021, Bogaerts’ 5.4 Offensive WAR ranked fifth, his .295 batting average and OBP were seventh, and his .663 Offensive Win % was tenth.

Here’s how Bogaerts ranked among AL shortstops:

Runs: 4th (90)
Hits: 5th (156)
Doubles: T-2nd (34)
HR: 3rd (23)
RBI: 3rd (79)
BB: 2nd (62)
AVG: 4th (.295)
OBP: 1st (.370)
SLG: 1st (.493)
OPS: 1st (.863)

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe Bogaerts is only 29 years old; he celebrated his birthday during the final weekend of the regular season. He’s already been an All-Star three times, won a pair of World Series (2013, 2018), and three Silver Sluggers.

Red Sox star Rafael Devers led American League third basemen in hits, home runs, and a slew of offensive categories in 2021

Devers is one of the brightest young stars in the MLB galaxy. 2021 was already his fifth year in the big leagues, and he only turned 25 on October 24. After a somewhat down year in 2020, he rebounded to put up some of the best numbers of his career thus far, setting new career highs in home runs (38) in walks (62), an encouraging display of increased plate discipline.

Here’s how Devers ranked among AL third basemen:

Runs: 2nd (101)
Hits: 1st (165)
Doubles: 2nd (37)
HR: 1st (38)
RBI: 1st (113)
BB: 6th (62)
AVG: 1st (.279)
OBP: 3rd (.352)
SLG: 1st (.538)
OPS: 2nd (.890)

Devers and Jose Ramirez were the only third basemen in the American League with 100+ runs scored; no other player in their position scored more than 75. The Red Sox wunderkind led the league in hits by a mile; Jeimer Candelario wasn’t even a close second with 151.

Will the Red Sox extend Xander Bogaerts and/or Rafael Devers this offseason?

In addition to being teammates, Bogaerts and Devers have become close friends. Bogaerts’ leadership has made an incalculable difference in the clubhouse; he is now the longest-tenured player in the organization. Devers has earned the praise of David Ortiz, who has called him the future of the franchise. Together, the shortstop and third baseman make a dynamic and formidable duo.

Bogaerts can opt out after 2022, while Devers will reach free agency in 2023. But as Bloom accurately put it on Monday, the pair are cornerstones of this era of the organization. The front office should do whatever they need to do to keep them in Boston.