Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts in the top tier for shortstops
Yesterday afternoon I saw a tweet pop across my social media and had no choice but to check it out. MLB.com ranked the current crop of shortstops and Boston Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts was at the top of the table, finishing third overall. The only players to finish ahead of Bogey were Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trevor Story. One could argue that Xander could’ve been in the top two but in the grand scheme of things I’ll take the love wherever we can get it.
Bogey has evolved from a rookie on a World Series winning team in 2013 to the de facto leader of this squad. He may not have the “C,” on his jersey but he’s definitely the one leading the charge in the clubhouse. Xander is so damn good that even his down years flirt with a .300 batting average. Add that to his career .977 Fld% and it’s no surprise that the Red Sox extended his contract through 2025 with a possible option for 2026.
Boston’s shortstop has been on fire over the last few seasons and it’s a major reason why he’s sitting near the top of this list. In 2018, he posted a .288/.360/.522/.883 with 23 homers and 103 RBI. This was good enough to land him 13th in the MVP voting, and oh yeah, he got himself a shiny ring that October. His follow-up to that championship season is what really put the Aruban on the map though.
2019 was an absolute break-out season for the infielder despite it being overshadowed by the explosion of a campaign by Rafael Devers. Still, Bogey took his strong 2018 and decided to go ahead and raise the stakes to some new levels. A .309/.384/.555/.939 slash on top of 52 doubles, 33 homers, and 117 RBI would find him finishing fifth in MVP voting, as well as earning him a trip to the All-Star Game and a Silver Slugger. He and Raffy would be the first teammates in history to both finish in the ” 30/50 Club,” capping off a stellar individual effort.
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Speaking of Devers, Bogaerts has become a mentor to the young third baseman and has played a big role in his development at the Major League level. With Bogey having a long-term deal and Raffy most likely next on the list for an extension, these two could be battling side by side for the foreseeable future. Things would get real weird after the 2019 season, you know, that whole pandemic thing. As COVID become a thing the world has gotten exhausted with talking about, baseball wasn’t immune from its grip.
The 2020 campaign would be delayed and trimmed down to a little over 1/3 of what the regular season usually consists of. A lot of players struggled with the stop and start of the preseason and then the shortened year, many of those on the Red Sox roster, but not Bogaerts. Hell, for much of 2020 it looked like he was one of the only guys on the field for Boston that knew the season was underway. He played in 56 of the 60 possible games the Red Sox had on the schedule and tallied a .300/.364/.502/.867 line with 11 homers and 28 RBI.
We’ve seen Xander work through injuries and play on teams that couldn’t even sniff the postseason. We’ve also seen him be the foundation of a championship squad while also giving everything he has in seasons that were long lost. There hasn’t been a captain acknowledged by the Red Sox since Jason Varitek and Bogey very well may be the heir apparent. His leadership, his on the field play, and how the team gets behind him, he’d be a perfect choice. Finishing third in the ranking is cool, but I wouldn’t put it past him to use it as motivation to shoot for the top spot.