Aug 31, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) doubles during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The importance of a strong finish for Xander Bogaerts

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Concussions are never a good thing for athletes of any kind; however, those seven days of rest may have been a blessing in disguise for Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts suffered a Felix Hernandez fastball to the head in the fourth inning of a game on August 22nd, marking yet another chapter in what had been a terrible season for the 21 year-old. To that point in the season, Bogaerts’ hitting a meager .223 on the season, completely negating his great start to the season. Since returning from that hit, from which he suffered mild concussion symptoms, Bogaerts has seen a marked improvement though.

It’s a minuscule sample size, of course, but Bogaerts has gone 7-19 with 3 doubles and a home run (including an incredible performance against the Yankees which saw him go 4-5 with a double and a home run). These five games are no indication of any future success for Bogaerts; however, it’s hard to remember any sustained run of success (even five games) that Bogaerts has had since the beginning of June.

At the beginning of the season, Bogaerts appeared primed for a huge year with a chance to deliver on his tremendous potential. And for the first two months of the season, he was doing just that. On June 1st, Bogaerts entered the day with a .304/.384/.433 slash line and seemed well on the way to a strong season in his first full year with the Red Sox.

However, since June has come, Bogaerts’ season has taken a free fall from its previous highs. Even with his current hot stretch, Bogaerts is still slashing just .231/.298/.350 on the season and that’s disappointing even when considering that Bogaerts is just 21 years old.

A strong finish to the season could be just what the doctor ordered for Bogaerts though.

If Bogaerts is able to return to his April/May performance for the last month of the season, that would go a long way towards re-establishing his stock as one of the best young players in baseball. He still has an absurdly high ceiling with the chance to develop into quite possibly the best offensive shortstop in baseball, and while the Red Sox already know that, it would be refreshing for the fans to feel the same way. And even if the fans don’t, they’d better get used to Bogaerts, because the Red Sox are absolutely committed to the youngster’s success and everybody is hoping that that success starts right now.

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