Boston Red Sox: 5 Players That Will Shine At Citi Field
5 Boston Red Sox heading to Citi Field
Citi Field in Queens, New York plays host to the best all-star festivities of any major sport starting this Sunday, and five Boston Red Sox players will take the field.
There are off-the-field events beginning Friday, but the first on-field event will be the Futures Game on Sunday, a game featuring some of the top prospects in baseball, allowing fans to see the superstars of tomorrow all on one field. The game will feature three Red Sox prospects, with one on the World squad and two on the USA squad.
Monday features an event that has arguably surpassed the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest as the most exciting All-Star event among the four major sports, the Home Run Derby. It is a bummer that David Ortiz won’t be participating in the derby, but I have a feeling he will find a way to end up on camera during the event.
Then Tuesday, in a game that “counts”, is the All-Star Game. The fact that it determines home field advantage in the World Series is a bit of a joke, but the game is still a great watch. Two Red Sox will play in the game, despite three making the roster.
Clay Buchholz made the AL All-Star roster, but will not participate as he has been out since early June with neck issues. There is good news though, Buchholz is expected to throw a full bullpen session Friday in Oakland, and if it goes well, he could begin a rehab stint as early as this coming Sunday.
Koji Uehara was close to making the game, being one of the five on the AL Final Vote ballot, but wound up finishing fourth in the voting and won’t be making the trip to New York.
It took an injury to a player on the USA roster for him to make it, but Garin Cecchini will be at Citi Field Sunday. He has had a red hot first half, absolutely tearing the cover off the ball with a batting average between high A and AA of .364 and reached 100 hits in just 80 games.
He will arguably be the USA infielder with the least amount of hype since he will be joining prospect stars like Delino DeShields Jr., Kolten Wong and Addison Russell, but he has the chance to open some eyes on Sunday.
Sunday will be the first time Anthony Ranaudo will pitch on national television since he helped lead the LSU Tigers to the College World Series title. He has become one of the Boston Red Sox top pitching prospects and put up an 8-2 record with a 2.67 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 91 innings this year for AA Portland.
While he might not light up any radar guns like we love to see in exhibition games like this, the long 6-foot-7 frame and ¾ delivery means the ball comes in heavy. He also has a nasty curve that will buckle some knees.
The future of the Boston Red Sox will come from the bat of one Xander Bogaerts. The guy can mash. He has hit seven home runs in his first 28 games at AAA. He is a shortstop, but some scouts think he will have to slide over to third as he fills into his 6-foot-3 frame.
He got to play this past spring for team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic with fellow young shortstops from Dutch-Caribbean islands Jurickson Profar and Andrelton Simmons. Not only will Bogaerts be the top bat for the Netherlands in future WBCs, but he just might be a key cog in the Red Sox lineup this year and into the playoffs.
Dustin Pedroia will play in his fourth career All-Star game. However, he will not get the start as New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano won the fan vote. Pedrioa has had yet another great start to the season and currently sits fifth among the AL batting leaders.
The scrappy Pedrioa might very well be the Boston Red Sox first-half MVP, and will need to continue playing well for the Sox to stay on top of the AL East.
David Ortiz makes his ninth All-Star team in his 10 years with the Boston Red Sox. This year, he passed Harold Baines as the all-time hit leader from the DH position. He may be 37 years old, but he is hitting the ball like he is 27. He has a .327 average, has connected on 19 long balls, and has even managed three steals this year, accounting for more than 20% of his career total.