Boston Red Sox Big Three Leading Club to AL East Crown

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIAugust 4, 2011

BOSTON, MA  - JUNE 17:  Dustin Pedroia #15 and Adrian Gonzalez #28 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after they scored runs in the third inning on a hit by KevinYoukillis #20 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Fenway Park on June 17, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Yes, the Red Sox do get plenty of media attention, but this season is completely different.

Carl Crawford's performance and lucrative contract have been ridiculed by Boston and baseball fans alike. The starting rotation continues to be riddled with injuries, and Adrian Gonzalez continues garner MVP talk.

Yet, the performances of Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia seem to have gone unnoticed by the national media until recently.  

Of the 12 players with a WAR above 5.0, three of them, Ellsbury (5.7), Pedroia (6.8) and Gonzalez (5.3) are members of the Red Sox lineup. There isn't another major league team with more than one player.

Much has been made of the trio's offensive numbers, but they are also considered some of the best defenders in baseball. Gonzalez and Pedroia lead their respective positions in UZR this season, and Ellsbury is the tenth best outfielder in terms of UZR this season. 

Offensively, the three of them rank in the top 20 in baseball in wRC+. Gonzalez has a wRC+ of 166, which means that he creates 66 percent more runs than a league average player. Pedroia ranks thirteenth with a 150 rating, and Ellsbury is nineteenth with 146 rating. Because of these three players, the Red Sox produce 21 percent more runs than the league average. 

Gonzalez has career highs in batting average, SLG, ISO, wOBA, OBP and a career low in strikeout percentage as a starter. Ellsbury has 18 home runs this season, as many as Gonzalez, and has 31 stolen bases out of the leadoff spot. Pedroia has 15 home runs and will certainly set a career mark this season, and he has career highs in stolen bases, OBP and walk percentage.

The truth is that the Red Sox core has produced like never before. Gonzalez is one of the best hitters in baseball, but the entire lineup has contributed.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have contributed 17 home runs out the catching position, and David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis have contributed 36 home runs and have higher ISO's than the rest of the starting lineup.

Pedroia, Ellsbury and Gonzalez have proved themselves to be the most complete players in baseball, and their production is the main reason that the Red Sox are the best offensive and third best defensive team in baseball today.