Xander Jan Bogaerts
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 185-210 lb.
- High School Colegio Arubano
- Debut August 20, 2013
Xander Bogaerts made the majors in 2013 at age 20. His twin brother Jair Bogaerts has played professionally.
Xander signed with the Boston Red Sox in August 2009; the scout was Mike Lord. He debuted with the 2010 DSL Red Sox and hit .314/.396/.423, leading his club in average, hits (75), homers (3), RBI (42), total bases (101), slugging and OPS. He was 5th in the Dominican Summer League in RBI and tenth in total bases. He fielded .929 at short. The next year, at age 18, he was playing in a full-season league and more than holding his own with a .260/.324/.509 batting line for the Greenville Drive, fielding .924 and homering 16 times in 72 games. Baseball America named him as the #10 prospect in the South Atlantic League, between fellow Dutch national Jonathan Schoop and A.J. Cole.
He then joined the Dutch national team for the 2011 Baseball World Cup. In the Netherlands' historic run to the Gold Medal, he got into three games as the backup shortstop behind another minor league prospect, Didi Gregorius. Bogaerts went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run after replacing Gregorius in a 19-0 romp of Greece. Replacing Bryan Engelhardt as DH in a 5-4 loss to Team Canada, he was 0 for 2 with a walk and a RBI. His bases-loaded walk from Mark Hardy in the 7th forced in Gregorius with the tying run to make it 3-3. With a 4-4 tie in the 10th, two on and two out, he was retired by Jimmy Henderson. His only start came in a 12-2 win over Venezuela, going 2 for 4 with a run and a RBI as the shortstop. In the Gold Medal game, the Netherlands only used Gregorius at SS.
He started the 2012 season with the Salem Red Sox of the Carolina League, where he hit .302/.378/.505 in 104 games. He was promoted to the Portland Sea Dogs of the AA Eastern League in early August, and hit .326/.351/.598 in 23 games against the higher level of competition. He was selected to play for the World Team in the 2012 Futures Game, hitting 5th and playing DH. He struck out against Gerrit Cole in the second, singled off Danny Hultzen in the third, whiffed versus Tyler Skaggs in the 5th and grounded out against Alex Meyer in the 8th. Xander was named the Carolina League Player of the Year by Topps (Dan Black was the league MVP), the Carolina League All-Star shortstop and was named the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year. Between the two clubs, his batting line read .307/.373/.523 in 127 games, with 37 doubles, 3 triples, 20 homers and 81 RBI. He tied Keury De La Cruz for second in the Red Sox chain in home runs (behind Mauro Gomez) and for 4th in average and was third in RBI (behind De La Cruz and Travis Shaw). In the Carolina League, he was 4th in average, 4th in OBP and second to Shaw in slugging. Baseball America ranked him as the top Red Sox prospect, as the #8 prospect in baseball and #2 in the Carolina League (between Dylan Bundy and Matt Barnes). They also listed him as Boston's best power prospect and best athlete. He went to training camp with the Red Sox as their youngest player the next spring.
He was a member of the Netherlands national team at the 2013 World Baseball Classic; this time, he started for them, replacing the injured Yurendell De Caster as the starter at third base early in the tournament (Andrelton Simmons manned short, Bogaerts' usual spot). He went 5 for 19 with two doubles, three walks, a run and a RBI in 7 games as the Netherlands surprisingly made it to the semifinals. In the semifinal 4-1 loss to the eventual champion Dominican national team, Bogaerts was back on the bench, with Schoop starting at third and Simmons at short; Schoop had been playing 2B until then but Xander lost his spot when another top minor league prospect, Jurickson Profar, was added for the final round.
He began the 2013 season at Portland, where he hit .311/.407/.502 in 56 games. He was selected to play for the World Team in the 2013 Futures Game, his second appearance in the showcase. This time, he got two of the three World hits as their top batter. Playing shortstop and hitting third for the World, he singled off Noah Syndergaard with two outs in the first. With Miguel Sano at the plate, Bogaerts was caught stealing second by Austin Hedges. In the 4th, he singled off Anthony Ranaudo for the final World hit. He took second on a wild pitch, third on a grounder by Henry Urrutia and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Lennerton to make it 2-1, World; the US would score three unanswered runs after that. Bogaerts struck out facing Eddie Butler in the 6th then walked against Kyle Crick in the 9th.
After playing a few games for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in April, he moved up for good in mid-June and continued to hit the ball with authority while also seeing his first minor league action at third base (he had played shortstop exclusively outside of the Dutch national team until then), in preparation for the expected needs of the big league club. In 60 games at Pawtucket, his batting line stood at .284/.369/.453; between the two minor league stops, he had accumulated 23 doubles, 6 triples and 15 homers in 116 games before getting the call to Boston on August 19th, a couple of weeks after the Red Sox had traded another top shortstop prospect, José Iglesias, in recognition that Bogaerts was the real deal. His performance got him named the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award. He sat on the bench on his first day in Boston, but was in the starting line-up at shortstop on August 20th at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Hitting 7th and playing shortstop, he went 0 for 3 with a strikeout as the Sox lost, 3-2. He grounded out against Ryan Vogelsong in his first major league at-bat, grounded out again in the third and whiffed in the 6th. He was replaced by Stephen Drew in a double switch in the bottom of the sixth. He was the first Aruban to play for the Red Sox. His first major league hit came on August 24th, a 9th-inning single off Brandon League of the Los Angeles Dodgers after coming into that game after another double switch. He hit his first career homer on September 7th, a two-run blast off the New York Yankees' Jim Miller that left no doubt as to its final destination as soon as it left his bat. While he played relatively sparingly the rest of the way, going 11 for 44 in 18 games, he became a starter during the postseason, replacing Will Middlebrooks at third base as the latter was slumping in the ALCS. Bogaerts showed excellent plate discipline and a live bat to keep the job. When a hit a triple in Game 3 of the 2013 World Series against Joe Kelly of the Cardinals, he became the third youngest player to have a three-base hit in the history of the Fall Classic, after Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle. As Tim McCarver commented: "Anytime your name is mentioned in the same sentence as Cobb and Mantle, that's a good thing." He was 5 for 21 with the triple, two runs, two RBI, a walk and eight whiffs in the Series, which Boston won.
In 2014, with Drew unsigned at the start of the season, he began the season as the starting shortstop. He moved to third base in place of a struggling Middlebrooks when Drew re-joined the team in June after his contract hold-out, then came back to shortstop when Drew was traded away at the end of July. In the end, he played 144 games, hitting .240 with 28 doubles and 12 homers, scoring 60 runs and driving in 46. This was decent production for a middle infielder, and he was only 21, an age at which most players are still earning their stripes in the lower minors, but with Boston falling back to last place and his striking out 138 times, he took his share of criticism for not immediately putting up superstar numbers. He put up good defensive numbers at shortstop, making 10 errors in 99 games, but things were tougher at third, where hi fielding percentage was only .910. He continued to progress in 2015, even though he seemed to stop hitting homers; his batting average rose significantly and he became one of the team's most productive hitters with runners in scoring position, forcing manager John Farrell to move him up in the line-up after spending most of 2014 hitting 8th or 9th. On August 15th, he was one of the major contributors to a 22-10 win over the Seattle Mariners, with 4 hits and 2 RBIs. In his breakout season, he hit .320 in 156 games, with 196 hits, the second highest total in the American League. Because he did not draw many walks (only 32, against 101 strikeouts) and most of his hits were singles, his OPS+ was only 107, but at 22 he confirmed that he had a very bright future. He was named the recipient of the Silver Slugger Award as the best-hitting shortstop in the AL after the season.
He took off in 2016 where he had let off the previous year, hitting well over .300 and leading the AL in hits the first couple of months. He and Jackie Bradley were the offensive leaders on a resurgent Red Sox team. In May they put together simultaneous hitting streaks, with Bradley's having reached 29 games when he was stopped on May 26th, at which point Bogaerts had pushed his own streak to 19 games. It eventually reached 26 games before it was stopped on June 3rd.
- 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- AL All-Star (2016)
- 2-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2015 & 2016)
- AL Singles Leader (2015)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2016)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (2016)
- Won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013