Xander Bogaerts has been a key cog on the Red Sox for several years. Now that he’s approaching the market it’s time to ask what it’d take to keep him.
Xander Bogaerts has had a peculiar career to date. He entered the big leagues in 2013 as perhaps baseball’s best offensive prospect. At just 20 years old, Xander pushed his way into Boston’s lineup by slashing .297/.388/.477 with 15 homers in 116 games. His rare combination of hit tool and power conjured up memories of Nomar from starry-eyed fans. His major league trajectory did not go quite as planned, however.
In his first full season, Xander was picked apart by pitchers when they discovered a huge hole in his swing on the low-outside corner. He only managed a replacement level performance in 2014 and fans began to wonder if he would adjust or flame out like countless talented prospects before him.
In 2015 Xander flipped the narrative. He corrected the hole in his swing on the outer half by hitting the ball the other way 32.0% of the time; a huge jump from just 19.3% the year before. In turn, Xander’s batting average jumped from .240 in 2014 to .320 in 2015, but he also lost his power. He would hit only 7 homers and maintain an ISO of just .101 that season. He accrued a stellar fWAR of 4.6 for his overall contributions, but he felt like a very different player than the one we expected.