Major League Baseball

The Boston Red Sox are ahead of schedule in their latest rebuild

April 20

Some rebuilds happen quicker than others. Look no further than Fenway Park for evidence.

After a 2018 season that saw the Boston Red Sox go 108-54 on the way to winning the World Series, things quickly fell apart.

The next season, they went 84-78 and finished third in the AL East. They were then busted for stealing signs during the 2018 championship season and forced to forfeit a second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Then, rather than trying to figure out how to pay impending free agent Mookie Betts, Boston traded its franchise cornerstone to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The following season, the Red Sox watched Betts and the Dodgers win the 2020 World Series while they struggled to a last-place finish in the AL East.

However, today, those struggles suddenly appear to be a thing of the past, as the Red Sox have raced to an 11-6 record, best in the American League and second-best in baseball behind the Dodgers (13-3).

And their success so far this season is due primarily to an overwhelming offensive attack.

The Red Sox currently lead MLB in hits (165), batting average (.288), runs (96), doubles (40) and OPS (.818).

When a team posts numbers like those, it's generally safe to assume that a lot of wins will follow.

And when a team makes a resurgence the way the Red Sox have so far this season, it usually involves a few breakout individual performances, and some from players that might even be experiencing a career renewal – that's where J.D. Martinez enters the picture.

After a disappointing 2020 season, in which he batted .213 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs in 54 games, Martinez is on pace to get back to his All-Star ways this season.

He is second on the Red Sox in batting average (.383) and leads the team in home runs (six) and RBIs (20). It's safe to say he has regained the form he showed his first two seasons in Boston, when he hit a combined 79 home runs and drove in 235.

While Martinez is playing the role of a superstar returning to form, the Red Sox also have a young star on the rise.

Outfielder Alex Verdugo has shown flashes of brilliance at the plate so far this season, batting .295 with three home runs and 13 RBIs, while showing incredible range in the field.

Verdugo was the prized return for the Red Sox in the Betts trade, which makes his production for the team all the more important and noteworthy.

But beyond the home runs and extra-base hits, the Red Sox have become a more disciplined team at the plate than they were in recent years.

In a story for the Boston Herald, Jason Mastrodonato broke down how Boston's new approach at the plate is paying dividends after an 11-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday, in which the Red Sox dominated ace Lucas Giolito.

"It wasn’t just that the Red Sox poured it on a usually-great pitcher. It was the way in which they did it. A team that got too homer-happy in recent years, a team that loves to bang balls off the Monster for doubles, is finally looking happy to pile up singles."

Against the White Sox, 13 of the Red Sox's 17 hits were singles,

In addition to the offense, Boston’s pitching staff has carried its weight, allowing the second-fewest home runs in MLB (nine). And that is with ace Chris Sale still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

In Sale's absence, Nathan Eovaldi is leading the team with 24 strikeouts and a 3.04 ERA. And with Sale expected to return to action at some point this summer, there is no reason to expect the Red Sox's pitching to go anywhere but up.

The boom-and-bust Sox appear to be firmly back in the boom category.

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