Xander, Devers hold leads in All-Star voting

June 14th, 2021

Entering Monday night, the Red Sox owned the sixth-best record (39-27) in the Majors. Given how they were commonly projected this winter, that’s a bit of a surprise.

What isn’t surprising, though, is who’s leading the way for Boston: Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. And when the first batch of All-Star voting results was made public on Monday, Bogaerts and Devers were leading the American League at their respective positions.

“They’re [helping] a team that 'wasn’t gonna be in this position,'” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “And they’re a big part of what we’re doing right now.

“… Right now, [voters] see these two guys and they’re like, ‘Wow, they’re that good.’ They’re helping this team to be in this situation, so they’re recognizing that.”

Bogaerts (31%) and Devers (28%) both command more than double the vote share of the next-highest player at their position (Toronto's Bo Bichette at 15% at shortstop, Chicago's Yoán Moncada at 13% at third base). Given how many statistical categories they lead in, that’s really not a surprise.

Entering Monday night, Bogaerts ranks first among AL shortstops in doubles and all three slash categories (his .941 OPS is fourth in the AL overall), and is tied for first in RBIs. He’s also third among MLB hitters in FanGraphs WAR (3.1). Devers paces AL third basemen in OPS, slugging percentage, home runs, RBIs, doubles, hits and he is tied for first in runs.

While Bogaerts has made two All-Star appearances (2016 and '19), Devers is still searching for his first. Obviously both players are off to a great start to reach the Midsummer Classic, but this year’s voting setup has a new twist.

Votes are tallied in two phases, with the first phase running until Thursday, June 24. From there, a second phase -- top three per position and nine outfielders -- will be voted on from June 28 through July 1.

In other words, Bogaerts and Devers will need plenty more support in the weeks to come.

“We’ve got all the [Caribbean] islands and the Netherlands rooting for them, too,” Cora said. “I saw the voting and the numbers, and people are getting it right.”

Cordero crushing in Triple-A
Franchy Cordero’s first impression in Boston will hopefully not be a lasting one. Since his demotion to Triple-A Worcester, the outfielder has been doubly productive as he was in the Majors -- in about half the time.

Cordero, who was acquired in the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City, has a .501 OPS in 34 games with the Red Sox. He was optioned to the Minors on May 27 and has since enjoyed a 1.195 OPS in 15 games. Cordero has reached safely in all but one of those games, and he has eight extra-base hits to go along with eight walks.

“Forget the home runs, [it’s] the walks,” Cora said Sunday. “He’s been walking a lot, and I think that’s very important. The more he shows control of the strike zone, the better it’s gonna be for him.”

When the Red Sox designated right-hander Ryan Weber for assignment on Monday, they could’ve turned to Cordero for the open roster spot. His numbers in the Minors are electric, but Boston is looking for the 26-year-old to sustain his good habits in the batter’s box for a bit longer.

“Let’s keep going,” Cora said. “The most important thing is that he’s making good swing decisions in the strike zone.”