Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is on a torrid stretch that puts his name in the franchise record books alongside Ted Williams.
There isn’t a hotter hitter in baseball than Xander Bogaerts. This is more than a mere hot streak, as the shortstop for the Boston Red Sox is entering some historical territory.
An eight-game hitting streak isn’t typically something to get overly excited about but this is an exception. What makes this stretch from Bogaerts special is that the streak has been loaded with run production.
Bogaerts has collected at least one hit, run, and RBI in each of his last eight games. Only Ted Williams has produced a longer such streak in franchise history. The Splendid Splinter had a similar eight-game streak in 1942 and he holds the franchise record with an 11-game streak in 1950.
The streak of 1+ hit, run and, RBI is the longest by any MLB player since Nolan Arenado in 2015.
Bogaerts is tearing the cover off the ball this month, hitting .405/.457/.833 in his last 10 games. He has at least one hit in nine of those games and he’s logged three consecutive three-hit performances.
An emerging power surge has seen Bogaerts take over the team lead in home runs with five in his last seven games. Bogaerts is third in the American League with 17 RBI in July and tied for fourth with 11 runs scored. His 1.290 OPS is fifth in the league and his .405 batting average is sixth among hitters with 30+ at-bats this month.
This hitting streak has raised his batting average to .312 this season which ranks fourth in the league among qualified hitters. He’s tied for the league-lead with 51 extra-base hits while ranking second in doubles (30), RBI (74), runs scored (74), slugging (.575), and OPS (.973).
The only major league hitters batting .300+ with 70+ RBI and 70+ runs scored are Bogaerts, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, and Mike Trout. The reigning NL MVP, the guy battling him for this year’s award, and arguably the best position player of this generation. That’s not a bad trio for Bogaerts to be connected with.
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FanGraphs lists Bogaerts fourth in the majors with 4.6 WAR. We’re more than halfway through the season but that still puts him on pace for nearly 8.0 fWAR. There have only been 26 instances where a Red Sox position player has topped 8.0 fWAR in a season and eight of those belong to Ted Williams. Mookie Betts and Jacoby Ellsbury are the only active players to do it in a Red Sox uniform (Ellsbury is no longer with the organization and calling him “active” is a stretch).
Bogaerts is locked in a battle with Trout for the AL MVP. It will be interesting to see what happens if neither of their teams qualifies for the playoffs. We’ve seen Trout get short-changed by voters before because his Angels weren’t a contender. Will voters award a player from a playoff team that clearly has inferior numbers to two candidates?
Assuming the Red Sox at least remain in the playoff race, Bogaerts should be a prime MVP candidate. He’s currently riding one of the best eight-game stretches we’ve ever seen from a Red Sox hitter. If he continues his torrid pace to finish strong down the stretch, Bogaerts may enter the conversation of the best hitting performances in franchise history.