Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts wins Silver Slugger award
As he made his way up through the organization, we always dreamed of the day when Xander Bogaerts would establish himself as one of the league’s best hitters. In only his second full season, that dream has now become a reality for the Boston Red Sox shortstop.
It was announced on Thursday that Bogaerts has won his first Silver Slugger, awarded to the best hitter in the league at each position. Bogaerts becomes the youngest player in Red Sox history to win the award, while joining Alex Rodriguez and Cal Ripken, Jr. as the only American League shortstops to ever win the award at age 22 or younger.
Bogaerts is coming off a breakout season in which he hit .320/.355/.421 with 7 home runs and 81 RBI. He finished as the runner-up to Miguel Cabrera in the AL batting title race and was first among shortstops in the league with a 4.3 WAR. He also led the competition at his position in hits, doubles, OBP, OPS, runs and RBI.
Leading the league at his position in nearly every offensive category made Bogaerts a rather obvious choice, but the honor won’t come as easily next time around. Keep in mind that Troy Tulowitzki didn’t switch over to the AL until mid-season and blossoming stars Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor didn’t make his debuts until June. With defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons recently switching leagues to join the Los Angeles Angels, the shortstop position is stacked in the AL.
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The position hasn’t been this deep since the holy trifecta of Nomar/Jeter/A-Rod dominated the league, so Bogaerts will face stiff competition for All-Star votes and positional awards. He has the talent to collect a few more Silver Sluggers in his future, but he won’t run away with the award this easily again.
Bogaerts was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing season for the Red Sox, but a couple of his teammates were also in the running to be considered for the award. Mookie Betts made a solid case with his breakout season, although it’s hard to argue against any of the three outfielders that were selected. As his bat continues to develop, a Silver Slugger is bound to be in his future.
The Red Sox hitter with the biggest gripe would be David Ortiz, who smashed 15 more home runs and had an OPS 66 points higher than Kendrys Morales, who took home the hardware. We can’t even blame the Kansas City Royals fans for hijacking the voting process this time, as it’s the managers and coaches that vote on the Silver Slugger award.
This was the first major award Bogaerts has won in his big league career, but it won’t be the last. Even with a deep pool of talent flooding the shortstop position, Bogaerts is among the elite in his class and only getting better.