After a terrific year for Xander Bogaerts, the shortstop was unlucky, on Thursday, as he missed out on a Silver Slugger Award.
Following a fantastic year for the Boston Red Sox, this week has seen their players clean up when it comes to the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. With a number of Sox players claiming even more hardware to add to the ultimate prize – the Commissioners Trophy – there were also a handful of Boston contenders who were left out whilst trying to add even more.
The prolific shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who had, perhaps, the best year of his career, was one of the prime contenders who didn’t win an award.
Bogaerts was one of the Red Sox’s most crucial players during this exceptional season. Perhaps, known by viewers who don’t see him on a day-to-day basis, Bogaerts is considered an offensive talent, but, he’s also one of the better defensive shortstops in the majors when it comes to making plays. This year, Bogaerts will remain in the memories of Red Sox fans for his offensive displays, which included three grand slams.
Bogaerts wasn’t a Gold Glove nominee this season. But, when it came to the offensive specialist awards – the Silver Sluggers – one had to think Bogaerts was amongst the favorites for his position. Having one of the better years a hitter can have, the two-time Silver Slugger knocked in 103 RBI for Boston, whilst recording 23 home runs, both career highs.
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What was even more impressive was the fact that Bogaerts put up these batting numbers during a season where he missed a pivotal period of time. He developed a small crack in his left ankle after trying to make a play sliding into the opposing dugout in a home game against Tampa Bay on April 9th. This injury came at an important time as it was during a hot streak and left him out of the Sox squad until late on, the same month.
Bogaerts appeared in 136 games in the regular season and played the entirety of the magnificent postseason campaign, which left him and the Red Sox ending up as world champions. As it was Bogaerts’ best year from the plate, as of yet, perhaps you’d expect him to claim the award, as he’s done it twice before. But when looking at the competition Bogaerts had at his position this year, the American League shortstop talent is stronger than it has been for a significant period of time. The eventual winner, Francisco Lindor, had himself a great year for Cleveland and was a focal driving force in their journey to October. Among the many talented shortstops, Bogaerts was definitely close. However, he still put together a season to remember.
Bogaerts’ offensive season would’ve been great for any type of position player. That can be backed up by many categories when looking at his numbers. With an offensive WAR of 5.6, the prolific shortstop ranks in the top 10 in MLB in this category, highlighting his importance to this record-breaking Red Sox team.
The two-time World Series champion shows that he keeps on getting better on both ends of the game. His offensive growth is underlined with career best in not just RBI and HR, but also in other important batting categories. Although his .288 batting average for 2018 is solid, it isn’t his career high. However, Bogaerts had the best year of his career when it comes to OBP (.360), SLG (.522), OPS (.883) and OPS+ (135). He remains an offensive juggernaut in this Red Sox side and will continue to be a crucial player as they try to defend their championship in 2019.