Red Sox Rankings: The Top 5 Shortstops in the AL
Bogaerts breakout year of 2015 started at the end of 2014, a year in which he endured monumental struggles with runners in scoring position (.153/.211/.219). This was the fallout of the panic move to bring back Stephen Drew at shortstop to try to rekindle the 2013 magic that wasn’t there, moving Bogaerts to third base on June 3rd. When Drew was dealt at the trade deadline, Bogaerts was given the shortstop job back on July 31, one which the Red Sox hope he holds for the next 15 years. He suffered through a terrible August batting just .123 in 83 plate appearances. September saw a complete 180 though, the resilient Bogaerts batting .313/.317/.490 to close the season.
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Bogie, as he was destined to be nicknamed, who had shown glimpses of what he could do in the prior September, blossomed in 2015. He didn’t come out of the gate terribly hot, posting just .694 OPS in April and .705 in May. In June, his OPS rose to .771, but in July, he became a force, posting a .371/.376/.495 batting line, feasting on good pitches to hit in front of David Ortiz. Among the outstanding splits of the 2015 season, the most encouraging is the .331/.364/.450 batting line he posted with runners in scoring position. This showed up in his 81 runs batted in, on just seven home runs on the season.
Bogaerts final batting line of .320/.355/.421 may be hard to duplicate as he benefited from an otherworldly .372 BABIP compared to the average of around .300 for the league. Versus left handers this number was .420, which is a remarkable feat over 172 plate appearances. The Red Sox are hoping that the power will start to come around in the terms of mashing balls over the Green Monster so that overall OPS can improve even if the batting average might go down. He has shown that he is capable of driving in runs, so in that third spot (where he batted .341/.375/.441) that he occupied for all but eight starts after June 25, he will continue to be an offensive force in what the Red Sox hope is a potent offense next season.
Next: 3. Francisco Lindor