ESPN’s Top 100 player rankings actually give Red Sox fans some hope

2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have become known for their ability to stay (somewhat) competitive with rosters lacking star power.

The undisputed face of the Red Sox roster is elite third baseman Rafael Devers — whether he likes it or not. But soon, one of his teammates may give him a run for his money.

Devers and Triston Casas have ranked on ESPN's top 100 baseball players list for the coming season, and Casas has ranked higher than many expected.

Devers came in 30th on the list, just behind fellow third baseman Austin Riley. Manny Machado and José Ramírez are the only other third basemen ranked above Devers.

Rafael Devers and Triston Casas are the only Red Sox to crack ESPN's top 100 players list

Devers is the MLB extra-base hits leader since 2019 and in that time he's posted two more long balls than ESPN's fifth-ranked player, Freddie Freeman. ESPN cites Devers' low-quality defense and high strikeout rate to support ranking him below the rest of the third basemen on the list, and seeing his competition, his rank makes sense. Any defensive improvement would shoot Devers up the rankings and firmly into the top tier of third basemen the league.

ESPN has ranked Devers' fellow corner infielder Casas at 65th on its evalution of the league's best players. This is a staggering improvement compared to other top-100 rankings of Casas — MLB Network had him ranked at 97th, just barely cracking the list.

Casas' 2024 breakout was enough for ESPN to rank him at 65th. His command at the plate, his third-place American League Rookie of the Year finish, and 24 homers last season also helped him gain traction.

While there aren't many Red Sox represented in these types of pieces, any increase from last year's numbers is promising. Devers and Casas appearing together — and Casas appearing so high — is one step in the right direction for the Sox.

Boston's youth movement for the coming years may help it gain traction in terms of greater recognition. Roman Anthony, Marcelo Mayer and Kyle Teel will hopefully crack the top 100 for the Red Sox in due time.

With any luck, Devers and Casas will still be up there beside them.

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