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MLB Network's 2021 ranking of top 100 players includes these Red Sox stars originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
A brand new baseball season is right around the corner with pitchers and catchers from many teams already having reported to spring training.
The Boston Red Sox are one of those teams.
The Red Sox should be better in 2021 after finishing last in the American League East during the pandemic-shortened 2020 regular season.
Chaim Bloom's front office has been busy making changes to Boston's roster over the offseason, even though no substantial additions in free agency or the trade market were made.
MLB Network earlier this week unveiled its top 100 players right now, and four Red Sox stars made the ranking.
Here's a recap of the four:
No. 25: Xander Bogaerts, SS
No. 65: Rafael Devers, 3B
No. 88 Alex Verdugo, OF
No. 98: J.D. Martinez, DH
The top player on MLB Network's ranking is Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts is No. 2, up two spots from where he was ranked last year after the Red Sox traded him to L.A.
The Red Sox have a couple players with real bounce-back potential this year, and one of them is J.D. Martinez.
The 33-year-old veteran finished fourth in MVP voting in 2018 and had another strong offensive season in 2019 before regressing in 2020. Martinez batted an abysmal .213 with seven home runs and 27 RBI in 54 games last season.
The issue that MLB Network's ranking highlights for the Red Sox is a lack of pitching. None of Boston's pitchers made the top 100 list, which isn't a surprise after the Sox posted the second-worst ERA in the AL last season.
The Red Sox didn't make any major additions to the pitching staff over the winter, so if they're going to win more games in 2021, they'll probably need a dominant offense to make up for a lack of high-end talent in the rotation and bullpen.