Red Sox patience with Bogaerts is paying dividends

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What a difference a year makes for Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox. To add my cultural notation- and with apologies to Rogers & Hammerstein – “June is bustin’ out all over.” And it certainly is for X-Man.

In June of 2014 Bogaerts started off the month going a less than spectacular 7/34 and that was the beginning of a dreadful three months that led to the panic signing of Stephen Drew. For the season Bogaerts finished with a slash of .240/.297/.362. That was actually a Ruthian type performance when you examine his RISP that finished .153/.211/.218.

Bogaerts was coming off a remarkable beginning to what was being pictured as a longevity career of epic proportions. A top ranked prospect that was only 20-years-old and names such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were being tossed around for comparison purposes.

Bogaerts had even made a transition to third base to address the mess that had surfaced at that position. And, a World Series ring to go into the career player profile. So back to June.

Fast forward to June of 2015 and a .440 average through the beginning of the month. Oh and does it get better. That season RISP slash? Now .325/.333/.525 for the season. The bumps were there with a recent 0-16 road-trip, but the response was not a mirror of 2014 and prolonged misery, but a back on track, go with the pitch and get tough at bats.

Patience is a key ingredient in player development. Just how much patience should baseball ops exhibit before pulling the professional plug? Bogaerts was simply too good to fail. I wrote an article a few months ago about Bogaerts being the most valuable commodity on the team. So, I just may have (finally) got one right.

Bogaerts works hard. He is capable of examining the defensive metrics. Bogaerts knows the areas that needed defensive improvement and addressed them in spring training and continues to do so. The desire to improve is firmly entrenched with Bogaerts. The glove work, arm and all important footwork are improving. Bogaerts will be no Ozzie Smith, but he will – for you older Red Sox fans – be no Don Buddin.

How a player handles adversity is a great evaluation tool. How often have we heard the “He can’t play in Boston (or New York or Philadelphia)” when consigning a young player or a vet to the next Acella out of town? From what I have been able to glean the Red Sox are fortunate to have a group of young players who are capable of handing the volatile Boston baseball market.

Articles are being written daily – as is this one – regarding the emergence of Bogaerts as star power and, of course, a worthy candidate for All-Star recognition as BSI’s Sean Penny recently wrote, but the key is that “P” word as in patience.

You need patience with young players until you can have some tangible results to base decisions on. That will become important when an Eduardo Rodriguez gets hammered in a game as that will certainly happen. Keep patience on the front burner when Mookie Betts has his average in the low .240s or Blake Swihart goes 0-10.

The Red Sox have a pleasant mix of veterans and young players. With vets you know what to expect as a baseline of numbers are available. With young players it is a far different story. Patience is required.

Statistics via baseball-reference

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