Xander Bogaerts MVP case grows by the day

Before we get to the Xander Bogaerts MVP case, let’s give credit it where it’s due. Mike Trout continues to show us all why he may go down as one of the most talented baseball players of all time. Nobody in the league has been able to string together so many Top-2 MVP finishes before turning 30, let alone in their careers.

But the pool of talent in the majors doesn’t just end at Trout. In fact, the crop of Xander Bogaerts MVP caseshortstops currently roaming the middle infields across the show is arguably the most talented group the league has seen in decades. Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Andrelton Simmons, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez are big names that come to mind.

But the one player that has stood up against them all- and might be coming for Trout- is Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts has surged ahead of other AL infielders

The Xander Bogaerts MVP case is a movement that has really gained steam over the last two months. With the aforementioned deep talent pool, there’s an awful lot of competition for the league’s top shortstop each year. Perhaps unbelievably, it could be argued that Bogaerts quietly ascended to the top spot, as flashy seasons by Lindor and Correa often stole the spotlight from Boston’s recently extended star. That’s no longer the case.

Understanding the Xander Bogaerts MVP case can be as simple as looking at his eye popping numbers. Just this last week, he came off a stretch in which he recorded at least 1 hit, 1 run, and 1 RBI in a historical 8 straight games. The only other Red Sox in club history to achieve that? Ted Williams. Yes, the Splendid Splinter. Ted accomplished the feat twice, with separate streaks of 8 and 11 games. Certainly nothing to sneer at.

Need more convincing? Let’s take a peak at his numbers as a whole. The 26-year-old was slashing .312/.399/.575 entering play on July 17, with 21 HR and 74 RBI. He had homered in 4 of his last 5 games, and in 5 of 7. He joins Trout as the only players in the AL batting .300 or higher with 20+ HR.

Is that enough yet? How about WAR? WAR’s value can vary based on metrics, but according to Fangraphs, Bogaerts’ 4.1 WAR trails only Trout (6.5), Cody Bellinger (5.7) and Christian Yelich (5.2) for tops in the majors. All three of them are MVP candidates that are putting up out-of-this-world numbers. But so is Bogaerts, and that shows that he belongs.

Bogaerts sits just behind Trout in most AL offensive categories

Still have not been told enough in the Xander Bogaerts MVP case? Let’s look at where he places among league leaders across other offensive categories.

He’s T-1st in the AL with Trout in XBH (51), 2nd to Trout in SLG (.575) and OPS (.974), T-2nd with Trout in runs (74), 2nd in the AL in 2B (30), 3rd in total bases (203), and 4th in OBP (.399). Pretty great, right?

The crazy thing is, it seems like most baseball fans needed convincing to even make Bogaerts an All-Star this season. He did eventually make it in after injuries knocked out other stars, but he didn’t even finish in the the Top 3 in voting at the position. The best shortstop in the American League, by a healthy margin, didn’t get voted in to the mid-summer classic.

Trout holds a comfy lead across most offensive categories, and might even be putting together his best season yet. But there’s no doubt that Bogaerts has cemented himself as a superstar in this league. For him, it’s time to start stealing some of the spotlight away from L.A. and bringing it back to Beantown, where one of the hottest shows in town is here to stay.

Miami Marlins sign Michael Morse

michael morse

It looks like Allen Craig will not be taking his talents to South Beach anytime soon. The Miami Marlins were thought of as a team that might have been interested in Craig, but they got someone else for the job.
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In need of a versatile power bat, the Miami Marlins turned to free agent Michael Morse and agreed to terms with him on a two-year deal worth $16 million plus incentives.michael morse

Morse, who is set to turn 33 before opening day next season, plays both first base and left field and hit .279 with a .336 OBP in 131 games for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants this past season.
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What was really impressive about Morse last season was his power. Hitting 16 home runs in 131 games might not seem like a lot, but he also smacked 32 doubles and 3 triples, meaning that almost 42% of his hits were for extra bases.

With Christian Yelich projected to start in left field and Garret Jones projected to start at first base, expect Morse to see playing time at both positions (but primarily at first base) according to splits and performance.
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At first base especially, Garrett Jones does not face many left-handed pitchers because he struggles greatly against them.

In the outfield, it will be tougher for Morse to swing playing time, but he definitely will have his work cut out for him. In an outfield with Christian Yelich who posted a .361 OBP and swiped 21 bases this past season, Marcell Ozuna who smashed 23 home runs this past season and Giancarlo Stanton who might just be the best outfielder in all of baseball, Morse might just be the best fourth outfielder in all of baseball due to a lack of spots.
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Certainly Morse provides the Marlins with a great bat off the bench, and his signing shows that the Marlins plan to compete in the near future. He may not be serving a huge role until someone else is injured, but Morse is a big addition to the Marlins organization nonetheless.