Bradley, Betts and Bogaerts: The 21st Century Boston Killer B’s

There's a 21st-century group of baseball Killer B’s in Boston that consist of two outfielders and a shortstop who are lumped together thanks to the alliteration resonant in their last names, overflowing offensive statistics and exceptional talent. This troika will be the cornerstone for the Boston Red Sox for years to come.

Right fielder Mookie Betts, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and shortstop Xander Bogaerts are significant elements inside the Red Sox clubhouse. They also happen to represent 33.3 percent of the American League’s starting lineup in July 12’s All-Star Game. It’s difficult to fathom the numbers they have put up during the 2016 campaign. If not for them, the Boston Red Sox may have fallen out of contention in the American League East. Their combined salary for 2016 (1.763 million) is still less than that of Manny Ramirez (1.933 million) who has been gone nearly a decade.

Let’s look at the numbers:

1. Bradley’s numbers: 14 HR’s/55 RBI’s .296 avg

2. Bett’s numbers: 18 HR’s/59 RBI’s .304/ avg

3. Bogaert’s numbers: 10 HR’s/56 RBI’s .329 avg

The numbers are staggering from these three young superstars. They have combined for a total of 67 doubles during the season with a little less than half the season to go. The Red Sox 10-16 slide may have been much worse if not for these three players producing at a high level.

With the steady veteran leadership and production of Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, the Red Sox offense ranks 1st with a .292/.359/.474 avg and is far ahead of any other American League team in those three categories. Moreover, they lead the AL in doubles with 216 with the next closest team Baltimore at 169 on the season.

There is immense pride inside the offices of the Red Sox Class A affiliate in Salem, Virginia, you’ll see posters of all three Killer B’s along with several other players on this year’s team who once played there. The farm system stocked by then-GM Theo Epstein and his protege Ben Cherington had Bradley and Bogaerts playing together at the Class A level in 2012. Betts joined the duo at the major league level with Boston in 2014.

They all have risen from the minors and are now the cornerstone of the future for the Red Sox. As noted by Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, Bogaerts and Betts are the first Red Sox duo under the age of 23 to start in the All Star game since Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr back in 1941. That is 75 years since that has been seen by Red Sox Nation, quite the accomplishment.

Thinking towards the future for these three emerging stars and the financial resources to keep all three players will be challenging. Bogaerts contract runs through 2019. With his agent being Scott Boras, they will likely be looking for a significant pay raise moving forward. The Sox organization has to really figure out a way to make a long term deal for him happen, soon.

Mookie Betts contract runs through 2020 and ESPN’s Buster Olney argued that both Bogaerts and Betts should be locked up this year. As referenced in this Masslive article, Olney predicts Bogaerts could sign a seven-year, $72 million deal comparing him to similar shortstops Andrelton Simmons and Starlin Castro. That would be a $10.2 million average annual salary. Meanwhile, Olney suggests Betts could fetch a six-year, $67.9 million deal from Boston or $9.7 million average. Those figures are based on figures starting the 2016 year and could very well rise due to the production numbers witnessed since.

The Boston Red Sox through great scouting, draft preparation, and draft execution have secured three of the top young stars in the game and laid the foundations of a solid, competitive team that will compete year after year. Even if they choose to part with one or more of these players, they would likely receive plenty in return. But let’s hope the Boston Killer B’s can stay buzzing for a long time coming.