There’s a good chance Xander Bogaerts will remain among the American League’s premier players.

ESPN baseball writer David Schoenfield predicted last Friday the Boston Red Sox shortstop will be among the 2020 AL MVP favorites. The combination of Bogaerts’ age and 2019 production convinces Schoenfield he’ll remain among the leading contenders, alongside Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, the newly minted MVP, and Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.

“Mookie Betts or Francisco Lindor could be included here, but given the trade rumors, both could be playing in the National League in 2020,” Schoenfield wrote. “In 2019, Bogaerts had his best season at the plate, hitting .309/.384/.555 with 33 home runs, 52 doubles and 117 RBIs.

“At 27, he’s right in the prime of his career. He plays a key defensive position — the metrics disagree on how well he plays shortstop — and if the Red Sox get back to the playoffs in 2020, it could be because Bogaerts leads the way.”

Bogaerts finished fifth in 2019 AL MVP voting, the highest among his Red Sox teammates.

Schoenfield’s inclusion of the role the Red Sox’s success will play in the 2020 vote is notable, as it might be among the deciding factors in a potentially close AL MVP race.

Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images