The Boston Red Sox re-signed Xander Bogaerts this past April. And given his season so far, it’s proving to be a brilliant move.
Until 2014, the Boston Red Sox had gone without a franchise shortstop for nearly a decade.
Think about how many shortstops the Red Sox went through between Nomar Garciaparra and Xander Bogaerts. We’re talking at least Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Nick Green, Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie, Mike Aviles, and Stephen Drew.
Since then, Xander Bogaerts has filled that need and quietly become one of the best shortstops in all of baseball.
But in his career, Bogaerts has always been overlooked. Not as publicly charismatic as Francisco Lindor. Not as much of a power threat as Carlos Correa. Not as fast as Trea Turner. Not as savvy with the glove as Andrelton Simmons.
But it can be argued that Xander is just as good as those players. He’s ranked in the top ten league-wide among shortstops in batting average every year since 2015, including first so far this year. Despite an injury-plagued 2017 season, he’s hit .276 for his career.
Xander’s defense is improving too, with only 9 errors in 99 games.
It all paid off for Bogaerts this April, when he signed a six-year contract extension for $132 million. In most cases, players may become complacent after a deal like that, but not for Xander Bogaerts.
So far this season, again among shortstops, he ranks fourth in home runs, first in slugging, first in OPS, and first in extra-base-hits. Much of this is due to his approach, which is now more balanced between power and average.
Until the last series against the Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox were undefeated when JD Martinez and Bogaerts homered in the same game – proving how valuable he really is.
Xander Bogaerts is a leader on and off the field and a cornerstone of this franchise. It’s a mere sin that he was not the starting shortstop for the American League at the All-Star Game. As Red Sox fans, we should be thankful that he will be Boston Red Sox mainstay for years to come.