3 Red Sox players who need to play better before the All-Star break

These players could help the Red Sox get out of the AL East cellar

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have not shown they are the class of a packed AL East. But they have shown an ability to hang around .500.

 Presently, the Sox hold a 40-39 record and are three games back of the final AL Wild Card spot. As we inch closer to the All-Star break, these three Red Sox will have to continue to step up and help ensure they enter the break with reasons to remain optimistic.

Red Sox starter James Paxton

The BoSox are 23rd in terms of starter ERA. Since returning from injury in May, James Paxton has been one of the club’s more reliable arms. He holds a 3.19 ERA on the season, and while he may not have the sort of “shut down” stuff that one would hope for in a front of the rotation starter, Paxton is a veteran who’s been in Postseason races over the course of his career.

With other key rotation pieces like Chris Sale dealing with injuries, it’s imperative that the Sox get innings from other sources. Experience matters when attempting to stay in a playoff chase, and the 34-year old southpaw must continue to give Boston quality outings if they have designs on remaining relevant. 

2. Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran

A 26-year old outfielder, Jarren Duran has been a streaky contributor for Boston this season. Over his last seven games, he’s slashed .292/.346/.417 while also recording two RBI. Additionally, he’s received praise for his recent hustle in the field. As a player who’s hit at the top of the order and some other key places in the lineup, Duran has the potential to put other players like Rafael Devers and Justin Turner in prime positions to drive in runs. He currently ranks in the 14th percentile in terms of K% and the 36th percentile in terms of BB%.

These marks are important when one considers the kind of player Boston hopes Duran could be “this” season. Of course, it’s possible that he develops into a true slugger as his career unfolds. But as far as this campaign is concerned, the Red Sox would seemingly be more than glad to see the California native play a consistently energetic style of baseball that includes a high on-base percentage and generally competitive at-bats. 

3. Red Sox outfielder Kiké Hernandez

 So far this season, Kiké Hernandez has struggled to find the same footing that made him a key part of Boston’s run to the ALCS in 2021. He ranks in the 36th percentile in terms of BB%, and has not been particularly good at putting the barrel on the baseball.

While no one should expect Hernandez to be perfect at the plate, it is more than fair to expect him to have quality at-bats and serve as a catalyst. If the Red Sox are going to make any noise in 2023, they’ll have to receive more from the 31-year old super utility man.