By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — With Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo, the Red Sox have four legitimate All-Star candidates in their lineup on a nightly basis. But manager Alex Cora wants to make sure that everybody puts the proper amount of respect on Hunter Renfroe.

The right fielder was instrumental in Monday’s 6-5 comeback victory over the Royals, belting a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth and a solo homer in the sixth. Both of those blasts were of the mammoth variety, too, and the second plated what proved to be the game-winning run.

It provided the opportunity for Cora to advocate for Renfroe being looked at in a different way.

“He’s been doing this for a while. You start looking at his numbers — the average, the RBIs, the home runs, the on-base percentage — the last two months, he’s been playing All-Star-caliber baseball. And we know what he can do defensively,” Cora said. “I think it’s time, I know you guys asked me about him earlier today, but the way he’s playing, people need to start recognizing him as one of our best players. He’s been huge for us. We always talk about the four guys, but what he’s doing has been amazing the last two months.”

Since May 1, Renfroe is hitting .307 with 10 homers and 13 doubles for a .910 OPS with 32 RBIs in 49 games played. Add in his elite defense …

… and Renfroe certainly may be flying under the radar on a national — and even a local — level.

But his work is not going unnoticed in the Red Sox’ dugout.

“He’s an incredible player. I played with him in San Diego. I know Hunter very well. Guy’s a great player,” said Garrett Richards, whose rough start was erased in large part due to Renfroe’s dingers. “It’s kind of funny because he takes more pride, I think, in his defense than he does his offense, which you don’t really see a whole lot at this level. But he really loves to play plus-defense, and as a pitcher, I love that. But that’s the vibe I get from him; he gets more fired up by throwing somebody out at the plate than he does hitting a homer.”

Going deep is of course nothing new for Renfroe. Hehit 33 homers in just 140 games in 2019 after hitting 26 long balls in each of the two seasons prior. But his current .272 average is significantly higher than his .235 career average, as is his .330 OBP compared to his career mark of .296. He’s in line to surpass his career-high of 13 outfield assists (which he reached in 127 games in 2019). While nights like Monday might help highlight his impact, the 29-year-old has simply been a reliable, steady force for the Red Sox for two full months.

“I feel good. I like where I am right now,” Renfore said after his three-RBI night. Swinging the bat well, seeing the ball well. I think that’s the biggest part is seeing the ball before you hit it. So I’m seeing the ball as good as I have in a long time. So just gotta keep going, stay with my approach, stay with my routine in the cage, and just try to stay healthy.