Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have been MLB's best shortstop-third base combo -- so why is the duo overlooked?

The Red Sox returned to North America after a not-so-pretty two contests in London on Tuesday and won a game, due in large part to Rafael Devers going 4 for 5 with two homers and six RBI. Xander Bogaerts was 2 for 5 with a double and RBI. It got me thinking ... 

What team comes to mind if I ask who has the best left side of the infield in baseball? 

It might be the Astros when Carlos Correa is healthy, as he teams alongside Alex Bregman. Maybe the Dodgers with a healthy Corey Seager along with Justin Turner. Maybe the Rockies with Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story or the Cubs with Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. Before Jose Ramirez was broken, he and Francisco Lindor had a case. The A's have a sneaky-great duo in Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien, too, and the future best duo is probably the Padres' exciting Manny Machado/Fernando Tatis combo. 

The best combo in baseball to this point in 2019 has been with the defending champs, though. It's kind of mind-blowing that the Red Sox could have anyone who is underrated, but both of them are. Neither were initially named All-Stars while both deserve to be (Bogaerts was added as a replacement a few hours after we originally published this). Going by Fangraphs' version of WAR, shortstop Xander Bogaerts ranks fourth in all of baseball behind Cody Bellinger, Mike Trout and Christian Yelich. Third baseman Rafael Devers is 13th. Every player above Devers is an All-Star. 

It should go without saying, but it seems like nothing does these days so we'll just say it again: WAR isn't the "be-all, end-all" stat and no one with a brain has ever claimed it to be. It is, however, an easy, one-number stat to compare players. In WAR, here are the top SS-3B duos in baseball this season: 

  1. Bogaerts-Devers, 7.0
  2. Semien-Chapman, 6.7
  3. Story-Arenado, 6.4
  4. Baez-Bryant, 6.3

Bogaerts is hitting .301/.392/.541 (140 OPS+) with 16 homers, 58 RBI and an AL-best 28 doubles. Devers is hitting .329/.378/.548 (137 OPS+) with 25 doubles, 14 homers and 56 RBI. 

How are they so underrated? Surely playing with reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts is part of it. J.D. Martinez, too. The Red Sox being a disappointing 45-40 might have something to do with it, as well, but man, they won the World Series last season. 

The reality of the situation is that Bogaerts and Devers have been the Red Sox two best hitters this season and arguably two best players overall. If they do end up making another deep run in the playoffs, it'll be in large part due to their left side of the infield. Let's make sure to give them their proper due, even if most of the rest of the baseball world ignores them upon first glance. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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