Red Sox Nation was outraged when Xander Bogaerts didn’t make the All-Star game,
and rightly so.
22-year-old Bogaerts is one of the best shortstops in American League. Over the
last month he has been one of the best players in baseball, period. Bogaerts
hit .312 in June and his July Batting average is .395.
second, though, what the outrage would be like if Rusney Castillo was left out
of the All-Star Game after batting .323 and playing outstanding defense in the
Red Sox. Could you imagine if his OPS was .932 and he wasn’t on the AL roster?
be a riot on Landsdowne Street.
Red Sox do have an outfielder putting up those numbers this season. His name is
Alejandro De Aza. He is appreciated in Boston, it seems. But he isn’t appreciated
as much as his play commands.
Aza’s numbers in Boston only include 31 games. (He’s hitting .266 in 61 games
in Boston and Baltimore, but we don’t give a rip about Baltimore.)
31 games in the Hub, De Aza would take a back seat only to Bogaerts in the voting
for MVP of the Red Sox resurgence.
Yes, the Red
Sox are surging at the break because, believe it or not, Sunday’s loss to the
Yankees was just one game. There’s still a chance for some meaningful games in
the second half of the season for a team that won 15 of its last 20 games.
Manager Ben Cherington has made a lot of bad calls since the Red Sox hoisted
the World Series trophy in October of 2013.
of Casitllo for so much money might be one of them, though the Nation really
wants that to turn out to be a good move. The second he arrived in Boston, we
immediately forgot about Jackie Bradley to the point that the best defensive
center fielder in baseball can’t get another real shot to stick with the big
extensions to Wade Miley and Rick Porcello looks pretty bad, too, though the
bet here is Porcello will end up being a good signing. Well, better, anyway.
But we have
to be fair to the GM. Ben hit it big last year when he stole Eduardo Rodriguez
from Baltimore. He also pulled off a great move on June 4 when he made the
Orioles look silly again in a traded for De Aza.
At the time
of the De Aza deal fans and media members groaned at the second trade for a
castoff outfielder in eight days. Unlike the move for Carlos Peguero, though,
the trade for De Aza has paid off in a big way.
The Red Sox
are 15-8 in games started by De Aza, and that only begins to tell the story.
His presence has also improved the team defense and helped the Red Sox
jumpstart the bat of Hanley Ramirez by occasionally putting the apathetic left
fieler at designated hitter.
the team overcome the major slump of first baseman Mike Napoli. David Ortiz never
would have broken out the first baseman’s mitt without De Aza on the team.
The Red Sox
outfield definitely isn’t what we thought it would be when Cherington started
hoarding outfielders last year, but neither are the Red Sox.
team has a chance – as slight as it might be – to be a sliver of the team we
expected when spring training broke has a ton to do with the trade for De Aza
and the production he has put up.
just be a whole lot more fun if his name was Rusney Castillo.