Xander Bogaerts

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Xander Jan Bogaerts
(Bogie or The X-Man)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Xander Bogaerts reached the majors in 2013 at age 20. He has made four All-Star Game appearances and won two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox. His twin brother, Jair Bogaerts, has also played professionally.

Xander signed with the BoSox 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, fielding .929 at short. The next year, at 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 the #10 prospect in the South Atlantic League, between fellow Dutch national Jonathan Schoop and A.J. Cole. He 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 shortstop.

Bogie 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 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), finished fourth in average and was third in RBI (behind De La Cruz and Travis Shaw). In the Carolina League, he was fourth in average and OBP and second to Shaw in slugging. Baseball America ranked him the top Red Sox prospect, the #8 prospect in baseball and #2 in the Carolina League (between Dylan Bundy and Matt Barnes). They also listed him Boston's best power prospect and best athlete. He went to training camp with the Red Sox as their youngest player the next spring.

But first, he was a member of the Netherlands national team at the 2013 WBC; this time, he started, replacing the injured Yurendell De Caster 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 an RBI in 7 games as the Netherlands surprisingly made it to the semifinals. In their semifinal, 4-1 loss to eventual champion, the Dominican national team, Bogaerts was on the bench, with Schoop starting at third and Simmons at short; Schoop had been playing second 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 World's hits as their top batter. Playing shortstop and hitting third, he singled off Noah Syndergaard with two outs in the first. With Miguel Sano up, 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 traded another top shortstop prospect, José Iglesias, in recognition that Bogaerts was the real deal. His performance earned him the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award. He sat on the bench his first day in Boston, but was in the starting lineup 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 subsequently replaced by Stephen Drew in a double switch. In playing, Xander 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 the game in 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 Xander 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 scored, two RBI, a walk and eight whiffs in the Series, which Boston won.

In 2014, with Drew unsigned at the start of the season, Bogie began the season as the starting shortstop. He moved to third in place of a struggling Middlebrooks when Drew re-joined the team in June, then was back at short when Drew was traded at the end of July. 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 his 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 lineup 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 RBI. 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 picked up 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 pushed his own streak to 19 games. It eventually reached 26 games before it was stopped on June 3rd. He hit .294 in 157 games, with 34 doubles and 21 homers, scoring 115 runs and driving in 89. He made the All-Star team for the first time and repeated as winner of the Silver Slugger Award as the Red Sox won a division title. He was then limited to 3 hits, all singles, in 12 at-bats in the ALDS as Boston was swept by the Cleveland Indians. After emerging as a power threat in 2016, Xander only hit 2 homers over the first two and half months of 2017, then on June 18th had the first multi-homer game of his career when he went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI in a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros. Both homers were off Joe Musgrove. He hit .273 in 148 games, but with just 10 homers and 62 RBI. His runs scored also dropped to 94. He went just 1 for 14 in the ALDS against the Astros, his only hit being a homer.

He started the 2018 season red hot, collecting 8 hits over his first 3 games, including three-hit games on Opening Day, March 29th, and again on March 31st. He was not just hitting singles either, as he collected 5 doubles and a homer during the hot streak. On April 7th, he hit a grand slam and collected 6 RBI in a 10-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, for the Red Sox's seventh straight win after losing on Opening Day. The following day, he injured his ankle while sliding into the Rays' dugout trying to chase an errant throw from the outfield and was placed on the disabled list with a cracked bone in his left ankle. He came back April 27th and, three days later, concluded the month with his second grand slam of the season, this one off Jason Hammel of the Kansas City Royals. It was the 6th grand slam by a Red Sox hitter that month, tying a record set by the 1996 Montreal Expos. On July 14th, he hit another grand slam, this one of the walk-off variety in the 10th inning off Chris Rowley of the Toronto Blue Jays, for a 6-2 win. He ended the season at .288 with 23 homers and 103 RBI in 136 games, setting personal bests for both homers and RBI in spite of playing fewer games than in any season since his first call-up in 2013. The Red Sox had the best record in the AL and breezed through the postseason, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Xander had a total of 13 hits in the 14 games played by the Sox with 7 RBI. On March 31, 2019, the Red Sox signed him to a seven-year extension, including the current season, worth $132 million. This came on the heels of signing ace pitcher Chris Sale to a similar deal. It was another stellar campaign for him, finishing the season with a .309 average, 33 homers and 117 RBI. He made his second All-Star Game appearance and finished 5th in the American League Most Valuable Player voting.

During the pandemic-delayed 2020 season, Bogaerts was again Boston's primary shortstop. On August 2nd against the Yankees, he had 4 hits with 2 homers and 3 RBI. Bogaerts had two multi-steal games on September 12th against the Rays and September 18 against the Yankees. He finished the season with a 10-game hitting streak and 18 straight games getting on-base. Overall, he batted .300 with 11 home runs, 28 RBIs and 8 stolen bases in 56 games. Bogaerts led all AL shortstops in home runs and RBIs, and was second in runs, total bases, on base percentage, slugging and OPS.

Bogaerts returned as Boston's primary shortstop in 2021. On July 1st, he was voted by fans as the AL starting shortstop for the 2021 All-Star Game. He played 144 games that season and hit .295 with 23 homers and 79 RBIs, also scoring 90 runs. He won his fourth Silver Slugger Award. In the postseason, he went 2 for 4 with a homer in the Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees and 6 for 18 with another homer as the Sox upset the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series. Moving on to the ALCS, he fell to 5 for 26, but still had three more extra-base hits, including another homer, in Boston's loss to the Houston Astros. In 2022, he made it five times winning a Silver Slugger Award when he batted .307 in 150 games, with 15 homers and 73 RBIs. His OPS+ was 131, his fifth straight year over 125. It turned out to be his final season for the BoSox, however, as he decided to opt out of the final three years of the contract he had signed in 2019 and become a free agent. Boston probably would have liked to re-sign him, and made him a qualifying offer which he turned down, but his price tag soon went so high that they dropped out of the bidding. In any case, they had signed Trevor Story to a large contract the previous off-season in large part as a hedge in case they were unable to retain Bogaerts. On December 8th, the winner of the bidding war was announced to be the San Diego Padres who made Xander their consolation prize after failing to land Aaron Judge and Trea Turner: all it took was 11 years and $280 million to seal the deal. The Padres already had two shortstops under contract: Fernando Tatis Jr., who had missed all of the 2022 season due to an injury followed by a suspension, and Ha-Seong Kim, who had filled in very well in his absence. They were still expected to play Bogaerts at short and make it all work by sliding Kim over to second and Tatis to the outfield, with Jake Cronenworth moving from second to first base. It was a surprisingly long contract for a player who had already turned 30, though.

Bogaerts started the 2023 season on a strong note, even if the Padres were playing underwhelming ball, as he reached base in each of his team's first 28 games - the only player in the majors to do so. Game 28 was the first major league game to ever be played in Mexico City, on April 29th, and he hit one of 11 homers on the day, off Jakob Junis of the San Francisco Giants in the 4th inning, in a 16-11 slugfest. That made him the first player in major league history to homer in four different countries, as he had gone deep in the Red Sox's series played in London, England in 2019, in addition to the U.S. and Canada. Two other players - Tony Clark and Michael Brantley - had homered in three countries and in Puerto Rico - which is usually considered a separate country for baseball purposes. His streak of reaching base ended in a bizarre manner on May 3rd after 30 games, due to a baserunning gaffe by teammate Juan Soto: he hit a single that was trapped by Cincinnati Reds RF Stuart Fairchild, but Soto, who was on first base, assumed the ball had been caught and retreated to his original bag, allowing Fairchild to throw to second base to retire him. Thus, what should have been a single was scored a force out on a fielder's choice.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 4-time AL All-Star (2016, 2019, 2021 & 2022)
  • 5-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2015, 2016, 2019, 2021 & 2022)
  • AL Singles Leader (2015)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2016, 2018, 2019 & 2021)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (2018 & 2019)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (2016 & 2019)
  • Won two World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013 & 2018

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jake Baer: "MLB free agency: Xander Bogaerts lands with Padres on 11-year, $280 million deal", Yahoo! Sports, December 8, 2022. [1]
  • AJ Cassavell: "Bogaerts, Padres reach deal for 11 years, $280 million", mlb.com, December 8, 2022. [2]
  • AJ Cassavell: "Xander goes globe-trotting with HR in Fourth country", mlb.com, April 30, 2023. [3]
  • Mark Feinsand: "Bogaerts an X factor on free-agent market: Opt-outs, qualifying offers among the intrigue at GM Meetings", mlb.com, November 7, 2022. [4]

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