The 2023 All Star Game is right around the corner and fan voting has come to a close. In recent years, Red Sox All-Star appearances came in bunches, with multiple players getting the nod each season. However, this season, there is only one representative for Boston this all-star break. That player is Kenley Jansen.
There is Only One Red Sox All-Star for the First Time Since 2015
While Kenley Jansen is more than deserving of an all-star spot, the lack of representation is odd for the Red Sox. Of course, the team has been playing .500 baseball all year, so that plays into it, as well. But for the names on this Red Sox roster weren’t named as all-stars, it’s not because they are not deserving. Here is a breakdown of each player on this Red Sox squad who fell short of the fan vote but should still be candidates of making the team.
The first name that comes to mind for Red Sox voting is Alex Verdugo. Verdugo has had a great breakout year and has blossomed into the Red Sox’s most rounded player. The glove is by far the most reliable on the field this season while the at-bats are consistently solid from Verdugo.
In 2023, Verdugo is batting .291/.358/.457 for a .815 OPS. He’s carrying a modest six home runs on the year, but they are without a doubt some of the most clutch home runs of the season. Verdugo’s leadership has stepped up since he was acquired in 2020 and is turning into the true heart of the team. While heart and leadership aren’t a statistical value that counts towards an all-star spot, it should have been enough for Red Sox fans to send him to Seattle.
If there is a mid-season candidate for Rookie of the Year, it’s Masataka Yoshida. Yoshida was seen as an “overpay” by Boston when he was signed this past offseason. But in his first three months of major league baseball, he has exceeded expectations.
In his first 74 big league games, Yoshida is slashing .307/.379/.477 and has knocked nine home runs so far. The main speculation with Yoshida was his ability to adjust to major league pitching. This speculation was quickly put to bed as he currently holds only 35 strikeouts on the season, which falls into the 98th percentile of big leaguers.
Some of the Most Surprising Performers Deserve to be All-Stars
James Paxton may be one the brightest spots on the 2023 Red Sox roster. He was picked up by the Red Sox in December of 2021 but didn’t make his debut until this April. He spent all of last year rehabbing from Tommy John but has been phenomenal since his return.
Paxton’s numbers over his 50 innings pitched includes a 2.70 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP with 61 strikeouts. After losing multiple arms in this rotation, Paxton’s return to Cy Young level pitching has been huge. It was so huge that it also earned him the American League Pitcher of the Month award. It may be likely that Paxton still makes the all-star squad, but the fan vote certainly should be much higher.
Jarren Duran might be the best surprise of the season. When Duran made his debut in 2021, it was followed by two seasons of disappointing baseball from a player with so much potential. Well, that potential is scorching hot this season.
Jarren Duran came out of the gate’s swinging after being called up due to the early loss of Adam Duvall. He took this opportunity and ran with it and has secured his spot as an everyday starter. In this season, Duran is batting .310/.360/.495 with four home runs, but that’s not the most impressive part. Duran currently has 26 doubles on the season in only 65 games played. That’s tied for the third most in baseball and leads the Red Sox. While an all-star nod may be a lot for a breakout player like Duran, the numbers definitely play, and that confidence boost could’ve taken him even further.
Brayan Bello May be the Most Deserving Pitcher on the Red Sox
If James Paxton is one of the brightest spots on the Red Sox, that makes Bello number one. Brayan Bello is turning into the best developed pitcher in the Red Sox organization since Jon Lester. The absolute dominance that Bello has shown on the mound in 2023 should get fans in Boston super excited for the future of this rotation.
In 2023, Brayan Bello is carrying a 3.08 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP over 73 innings pitched. He currently has 67 strikeouts which follows only Chris Sale and Nick Pivetta for most on the team. Not only this, but his most memorable moment of the season was his 7 no-hit innings on June 29th. Bello has already turned into the core of the next great Red Sox rotation, and he deserves an all-star spot to show for it.
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