The All-Star selections were released Sunday afternoon. And while J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts will represent the Red Sox in Cleveland, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers won’t.
Prior to Sunday’s selection of reserves, Sox manager Alex Cora was asked if Bogaerts was underrated. His response was simple: “Very.’’
He raved about Bogaerts’s baseball IQ, but, more importantly, pointed out that his production is up.
“He’s been great,’’ Cora said. “It’s fun to write his name in the lineup every day. He’s a leader. He’s a leader of our team. We’ve been talking about it for the last month that we made a big commitment with him to keep him here and it looks really good.’’
On Friday, he spoke glowingly about Devers, too.
“We’re very proud of him and the way he’s gone about his business,’’ Cora said. “It’s somebody that a lot of people thought it wasn’t going to happen [his production]. It’s happening.’’
Betts called the selection to his fourth All-Star game an honor after he and Martinez were voted in by the players. But his focus quickly shifted to teammates Devers and Bogaerts not making the cut.
“With those guys, they’ve been carrying us all season,’’ said Betts, who also put catcher Christian Vazquez in the group. “They should definitely get more recognition. I know it’s the All-Star Game and there are some big names there. I’d just like for guys to vote fairly and not just off names.’’
By his standards, Betts is having a down year so far. He is hitting .261 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs. His OPS is .837, respectable but far off last season’s 1.078. At the break last year, he was hitting .359 with 23 homers. That type of productivity is tough to match. But Betts knows the current version of him isn’t who he is.
“I’m just trying to do the things I can do,’’ Betts said. “I’ve been working hard in the cage to try and get back to somewhat normal. I’m trying to do what I can as far as playing defense and drawing some walks.’’
“His numbers are down for what he’s capable of doing,’’ Martinez said of Betts. “If you look at his OPS he’s right up there. That just shows you that grinding-it-out mentality and not giving in. I know everyone thinks he’s having an awful year. But if you look at that number [OPS] he’s still very productive, and he’s still All-Star level productive.”