Xander Bogaerts’ importance to the Red Sox is immense.
With the start of the 2020 MLB season finally on the horizon, the Boston Red Sox move towards a new era. Since we last saw the Sox play a competitive game of baseball, they’ve traded away their franchise player in Mookie Betts – a deal which also included the departure of 2018 postseason hero David Price, and have seen a complete takeover in terms of the team’s front office.
An extremely shortened season, which will include just 60 regular season games, could be a positive thing for the Red Sox, as they remain competitive with plenty of firepower throughout their lineup – giving them the ability to get hot fast. Their most integral player both on and off the diamond, this season, is likely to be beloved shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who’s developed into a superstar player and leader in Boston.
Bogaerts comes into the season off the back of a career year in 2019, where he hit .309/.384/.555 and lead the Red Sox in RBI with 117, earning himself his third Silver Slugger Award of his career and a place in the inaugural All-MLB First Team.
For a player who is still only 27-years-old, Bogaerts has already had such a distinguished career. He got his first call-up during the 2013 campaign and played a role in winning the World Series that year. Since then, he’s enjoyed six seasons in Boston’s infield and has come a long way, cementing himself as a vital player.
The two-time All-Star has shown significant improvements in terms of his performances at the plate over the past couple of seasons, getting better in just about every statistic possible from 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019. Bogaerts and Rafael Devers were the team’s standout players last season, performing extraordinarily at both the plate and on that left side of Fenway Park’s infield. Their importance will become clearer and clearer as more baseball gets played, they’re going to be the core of this rebuild and will remain key players for years to come.
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On a team which has many younger players, Bogaerts has become a voice off of the field, as well as on it. He’s developed into a true clubhouse leader, and that’s exactly what the Red Sox need at this moment in time.
Bogaerts is also a player whose performances seem to rub off on others around him, and if he can produce a year similar to last then there’s going to be plenty of potential to do damage at the top of the Red Sox lineup. With him, Devers and J.D. Martinez spearheading your offense, you’re guaranteed to have one of the most feared lineups in the league and with that anything can happen over the course of a shortened season.
When you’re at a period in time where everything is up in the air and there’s no certain idea over how the front office is going to go at it with what they currently have, it’s pivotal to have a figure like Bogaerts locked down, as you then have something worth building around.
Bogaerts gives the Red Sox a chance to be legitimately competitive this season. There will be weight on his shoulders to produce with the departure of Mookie, but he has the tools to lead this offense and it’s clear that he’s one of the best players at his position in the majors.
It’s an important time for the side, but anything that they do in terms of making a run at the playoffs this year is a bonus. They’re not expected to be there come the postseason, but with the talent that they have, you’ve always got a real chance of being there when it comes around.