After the 2016 season, Bogaerts was considered one of the top shortstops in the MLB. Coming off of back-to-back Silver Slugger award winning seasons, the sky was the limit for the youngster, and it seemed like he was ready to bust through the stratosphere and ascend into space. Then 2017 came, and Xander laid an egg.
In what was by far the most disappointing year of his young career, Bogaerts disheartened all of Red Sox Nation, batting just .273 with 10 HR and only 62 RBI. He bounced around the order, unable to find a spot to be effective, hitting everywhere from leadoff all the way to 7th. Compare that to 2015 and 2016, where he mostly batted 2nd or 3rd and hit .320 and .294, respectively, with a combined 28 HR and 170 RBI. Moreover, Xander displayed some of the worst defensive output in the entire league in 2017. His .969 fielding % (his worst since breaking into the Bigs) ranked in the bottom 5 of the entire AL.
So, it’s time to see what the young man is made of. Will he step it up and regain his place among the best, or continue to digress into oblivion?
If you’re asking me, I’d go with the former. Bogaerts is far too talented to for us to expect a repeat of 2017 from him. I’d count on seeing him bounce back to his former self, being patient at the plate, swinging the bat consistently, getting on base, and once again finding his form in the field. If he can do that, he’ll find a comfortable spot somewhere in the top 3 in the order. If not, he may find himself comfortably on the bench.