Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts
In a season in which so many star players struggled, it’s encouraging to see that at least one of the top bats in the Red Sox lineup managed to live up to his reputation.
The numbers aren’t quite up to the level of last year’s career-year when he finished fifth on the AL MVP ballot, even when prorating for the shortened schedule, but Xander Bogaerts still had a fantastic year. His batting averaged reached .300 for the second consecutive season and third time in his career and his slugging percentage topped .500 for the third straight year.
Bogaerts tied Devers for the team lead in home runs with 11, putting him on a similar pace to last season when he set a career-high with 33.
If there’s one area of regression that was a mild concern it’s the overall decline in extra-base hits. Bogaerts tallied 32+ doubles in each of the last five seasons, including a career-high 52 last year. His eight double this year put him well short of being on pace to extend that streak even if we had a full season. He didn’t record a triple for the second consecutive season after hitting 14 in his previous five seasons.
Bogaerts has emerged as the leader of this team. We could have seen this clubhouse completely fall apart during this miserable season with tempers flaring and teammates turning on each other. We didn’t see that happen and Bogaerts deserves some of the credit for helping to keep it together.