Sep 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) hits a home run during the sixth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
2015 Stats: .320/.355/.421, 7 HR, 81 RBI, 84 Runs, 10 SB
In only his second full season in the big leagues, Bogaerts finished second in the league in batting average and hits. While his bid for 200 came up short, his 196 hits were the most by a Red Sox hitter since Adrian Gonzalez collected 213 in 2011.
Bogaerts got off to a solid start last year, but his rookie season quickly went off the rails once the summer months began, as he hit a measly .161 from June through August. He would recover to his .313 last September, foreshadowing his breakout season to come.
There were no lengthy slumps for Bogaerts this season, as he hit at least .274 in every full month and was well over .300 for four consecutive months. The 22-year old responded to his All-Star snub by hitting a scorching .371 in July and went on to hit .337 after the break. It’s fair to say he may get a bit more attention once the voting process begins again next year.
One way that Bogaerts has been able to improve at the plate is by making significant strides in cutting down on his strikeout rates. After striking out 23.2 % of the time last year, Bogaerts cut down his strikeouts to a rate of 15.4 % this year. His aggressiveness at the plate meant drawing fewer walks, but the increase in contact paid off thanks to a career-high .372 BABIP.
Bogaerts has flourished into one of the brightest young stars at his position. If he develops a bit more power and learns to take more walks without having it come at the expense of his contact rate, Bogaerts could make another leap in the near future to become a superstar.
Next: Brock Holt