Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts should be an All-Star


Major League Baseball recently released updated fan voting results for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game, which as of June 8 reveals that the Boston Red Sox position players are all trailing significantly at their respective positions. While it’s understandable why this band of underachievers would be deemed unworthy of the honor, one player making a strong case for an All-Star bid is shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

One glance at these results shows that voting has been absolutely dominated by Kansas City Royals fans. It’s a wonder what one World Series trip can do to energize a fan base, sending them frantically to their computers in massive waves to submit their digital stamp of approval in the form of an All-Star vote.

Alcides Escobar leads all American League shortstops in voting by a wide margin. While the Royals shortstop is having a fine season, Bogaerts has been even better and there’s no question that he has performed well enough to rank inside the top-5.

While most of the Red Sox hitters have been slumping, Bogaerts is thriving in his second full season in the big leagues. So far this season he ranks first among AL shortstops in batting average (.296), OBP (.340) and WAR (1.5). Bogaerts is also second in OPS (.742), RBI (21) and hits (56).

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Escobar trails in every single one of those categories, making it difficult for anyone to argue that has been better offensively than Bogaerts. Where Escobar does have a slight edge is defensively, but he’s not exactly a wizard with the glove himself. Escobar has 1 Defensive Run Saved this season, which ranks 6th among AL shortstops with a minimum of 200 innings at the position.

Contrast that with Bogaerts, who has been a bit below average with -1 DRS. That still represents drastic improvement over last season, while the eye test confirms that Bogaerts has made great strides defensively. While a negative DRS may not be impressive, it’s still good enough for 8th in the league among shortstops (minimum 200 innings). Bogaerts also ranks 4th among qualified AL shortstops with a 4.24 Range Factor, per, while Escoabar is 7th at 3.91 (league average is 3.89).

Any way you slice it, the numbers seem to back up Bogaerts as the best overall shortstop in the league. The only thing holding him back may be the Red Sox disappointing record.

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Boston hitters have failed to garner enough votes to place inside the top-5 in four of the seven positions. The Red Sox don’t have anyone ranked higher than 3rd at their position and don’t have an outfielder in the top-10. After entering the season with a lineup littered with former All-Stars, they may be in danger of not having a single hitter on the 2015 edition.

Voting for the All-Star starters is a popularity contest more than anything, so it’s not unusual for some of the best players to be left out. Royals fans stuffing the ballot is indicative of their enthusiasm for the team’s success following decades of disappointment. Meanwhile, Bogaerts may be the victim of frustrated Red Sox fans feeling less inclined to cast their votes to support the players on this struggling team.

Even if Bogaerts isn’t named as a starter, he will still have a decent shot at making the team as a reserve. After all, league rules stipulate that at least one Red Sox player must make the team. Given how this season is going you would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving candidate than Bogaerts.