Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ value rising after he fixed his swing
By Jason Ward
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is healthy again with improved swing mechanics and is showing everyone how valuable he is on this Red Sox team.
Everyone’s talking about J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts as the most valuable players on the Boston Red Sox, but Xander Bogaerts is having an underrated year at the plate and has been a major part of the team’s success.
Bogaerts is batting .281 this season with 17 home runs, 77 RBIs, and a .874 OPS. But the stats that really jump out are his .349 AVG and .783 SLG with runners in scoring position. Plus his 77 RBIs are second on the Red Sox behind MVP-candidate J.D. Martinez. He’s only 12 RBIs away from his career-high. On top of all that, Bogey has a team-leading three grand slams this season.
Xander had a similar offensive season in 2016 when he was an All-Star and won a Silver Slugger after putting up career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (89). But last season, his numbers and offensive production were significantly lower. He only had 10 homers, 62 RBIs, and the second-lowest SLG in his career.
More from Red Sox News
- Jeter Downs’ official departure will continue to haunt Red Sox
- Aaron Judge’s Yankees return a brutal reminder of what could have been for Red Sox
- Red Sox should capitalize on Yankees’ latest roster move
- Red Sox ownership’s latest reported venture could be what’s affected team spending
- How Red Sox’ latest cheap endeavor could carve out a role in 2023
Many people started to give up on Xander after that season, wanting to trade him in the offseason. But now his power numbers are up again and he’s back to driving in runs.
So what’s he doing differently this season compared to last season?
Well, first of all, he’s healthy. Last season he suffered a hand injury that he regrettably decided to play through. That undoubtedly affected his power numbers and ability to hit balls hard. His average exit velocity last season was 87.3 mph, below league average, and he had a 31.7% hard hit percentage. This season his average exit velocity is 91.2, above league average, with a 42.1% hard hit percentage.
But being healthy is not the only reason Xander’s numbers are back up.
With help from hitting coach Tim Hyers in the offseason and spring training, Xander increased his average launch angle. Last season, he had an average launch angle of 8.2º. This season his average launch angle is 11.1º. To put that in perspective, a ground ball is a launch angle of less than 10º while line drives and fly balls are 10º to 50º.
The importance of Xander Bogaerts batting in that No. 5 spot in the lineup is underrated as he’s a big reason why the Red Sox are first in the majors in runs scored this season.
Let’s hope Xander can keep it up and stay healthy, as he could be the X-factor (pun intended) going into the playoffs!