Boston Red Sox: 1st-month props to Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo

Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

It is no secret the offense for the Boston Red Sox has struggled for the first month of the 2022 season.

The season is young enough that the Red Sox struggles don’t exactly warrant a five-alarm situation. Concern is warranted, however, as the offense has a lot placed on their shoulders and has yet to consistently find their sweet spot in 2022.

And in a division with power teams galore, if things don’t balance out soon, this could be a season with Boston looking up at other teams in the standings all year long.

Life got a little better with a 3-1 win on Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles. Prior, the Red Sox had lost five of six, scoring only 11 runs in those losses. While most of the team has struggled, there are two players who have (mostly) been staying steady in the first month.

Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo are pacing the Boston Red Sox offense

Entering Friday’s game against the Orioles, Xander Bogaerts has been the king of productivity for the Boston Red Sox.

Despite an 0-3 performance in Friday’s victory, Bogaerts is still hitting .377 this season. He’s played in 20 of the 21 games, and already has seven games with three or more hits. Strikeouts were a slight problem in the early, with nine in the first eight games, but he has only nine since.

Bogaerts has seven doubles. Though he has only one home run, he does have eight RBI’s. That number could be higher if those hitting in front of him could get on base. With a few walks mixed in, the two hitters primarily batting in front of Bogaerts as of late, Trevor Story and Alex Verdugo, are 6-39 in the last five games that Bogaerts has started.

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Verdugo has been right up there in the early going with Bogaerts but has cooled off this last week. An 0-4 night on Friday has Verdugo in a 3-27 slump, with only 3 RBI’s in that span.

He does have 13 total RBI’s on the season though, to go along with three home runs. Verdugo has played in all 21 games for Boston this season, and struck out only seven times.

Getting Verdugo out of this slump is a must, and it might be best to move him out of the no. 2 spot in the batting order. When batting second so far this season, Verdugo is only 2-16 in 2022, with an OBP of .111.

Trouble is, no one is really producing from the top two spots in the order, although a few players are showing signs of heating up, and can hopefully solve some of that top of the order troubles.

Boston Red Sox: Signs of heating up

It’s not exactly a hit parade but Enrique Hernandez has been finding better at-bats as of late.

Hernandez has strung together a six-game hitting streak, delivering eight hits in his last 29 at-bats. A lack of power has been disconcerting, but it’s a league-wide plague so far in 2022. The Red Sox are still waiting for the first home run from Hernandez this season, even as home runs are down across Major League Baseball.

He does have seven RBI’s, and a 1-4 night on Friday has him now hitting .200 on the season (up from .172 a week ago). While Hernandez is (fingers crossed) finally getting going, another player appears to be putting a little mini-slump behind him.

Rafael Devers began the season with a bang, showing signs of the MVP he is one-day destined to be. The good news is that Devers has been steady in the season’s first month, despite a recent stretch this last week that saw him go 3-17.

Over the last eight games, a lack of power has been missing for Devers, with only one home run and two RBI’s (plus striking out nine times). Devers partially is suffering from the same affliction as Bogaerts, with the top two in the batting order failing to produce and get on base.

But Devers went 2-4 in Friday’s win and has a six-game hitting streak, too. He’s collected a hit in all but three games this season.

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As the calendar gets ready to flip to May and the weather warms up, so too, should the Red Sox. There’s too much talent in this lineup to be held at bay for too long. This series for Boston against Baltimore could be good jumping off point, especially with six home games to follow. And with Bogaerts leading the way, good things are bound to eventually come to light.