X Marks The Spot For The Rising Shortstop

2013 saw a special player come to the Red Sox organization. The Red Sox shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, came to the big leagues looking to be the next big rising shortstop star.

For baseball fans who grew up in the 1990’s, there were three shortstops that were wellrising shortstop known in the baseball world. The names Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez would be mentioned countless times, and many considered them to be the Big Three of shortstops.

Each one’s career went in a different path. For Derek Jeter, he spent his whole career with the New York Yankees. He also had his number 2 retired by the team. Alex Rodriguez started out playing for the Seattle Mariners. From there, he went to the Texas Rangers, and to the New York Yankees as a third baseman. Finally, Nomar Garciaparra, the Red Sox Nation fan favorite, was traded at the 2004 trade deadline to the Chicago Cubs. From there, he also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics.

Before Bogaerts

After the trade of Garciaparra, the Red Sox went through a revolving door of shortstops. Many in Red Sox Nation were looking for the one who could ultimately fill the void at the position for a long time. Maybe a player who can spend his whole career in a Red Sox uniform. Well, look no further than the man we know as X-Man, or Bogey – Xander Bogaerts.

The Shortstop Of The Future

Since the 2004 trade of Nomar Garciaparra, the Red Sox didn’t really have much for homegrown shortstops. The acquisition of Orlando Cabrera in 2004, then the signings of Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo made for tough times at Fenway Park. Jose Iglesias, who arrived on scene in 2011, was a bright spot for the organization. However, the Red Sox traded him to the Tigers at the trade deadline in a three team deal that brought Jake Peavy to the Red Sox. About a month later, another name came on scene – Xander Bogaerts.

The young infielder started off at third base, making his major league debut against the San Francisco Giants on August 20th, 2013. From there, Bogaerts went onto leading the Red Sox to their third World Series Championship since 2004.

In 2014, Xander went from wearing #72, to the #2. Bogaerts also was the starting shortstop on Opening Day. He had a great first full season for the Red Sox, playing in 144 games, batting .240 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI’s. He was also on hand when the Red Sox honored his hero, Derek Jeter in his final game at Fenway.

2015 for the X-Man saw him play in 156 games. He also led the Red Sox in batting average, batting .320 with seven home runs and 81 RBI’s. He also finished in second place in the American League batting title to Miguel Cabrera. Bogaerts did however win his first Silver Slugger Award. The last Red Sox shortstop to win a Silver Slugger Award? Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.

In the season that saw David Ortiz play his final season, Bogaerts had another stellar year. Not only did he win his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award, but he also made his first All Star Team in San Diego. He also had a 26 game hit streak that went from May 6th to June 2nd.

The last two seasons for the rising star saw him win another World Series Championship. Although 2017 wasn’t great for Bogaerts, as he was injured due to a hit by pitch to his wrist, 2018 saw his numbers jump. Manager Alex Cora had Bogaerts batting behind JD Martinez, which allowed him to hit a career high 23 home runs. Many of those home runs were grand slams, one of which was the game winner against the Blue Jays.

Rising Shortstop’s New Deal

Prior to his seventh season in a Red Sox uniform, the Red Sox awarded Xander with a six year contract extension worth $120 million. This contract, will see Bogaerts in a Red Sox uniform through at least the 2025 season.

In his press conference, Bogaerts stated that the first person he called after signing the extension was Dustin Pedroia. He also stated that “It’s a very special place to play”, and he wants to keep playing and winning in Boston.

Looking Forward

So far in the 2019 season, Xander has played in 18 games, batting .297 with two home runs. The 26 year old from Aruba is set to be the face of the franchise following his extension. If he keeps having career seasons, we might one day see the #2 in right field next to David Ortiz’s #34.

How Will Red Sox Fans Bid “A Rod” Adieu?

In a painfully awkward press conference today, Alex Rodriguez announced he will retire. Rodriguez’s last game will be Friday, making his last full series a 3-game set at Fenway Park this week. In this day in age, baseball legends have gotten elaborate send-offs in their final go-arounds. That being said, should A Rod get legend treatment for his legendary numbers?

Let’s be clear, Rodriguez does have Hall of Fame numbers, but what does an asterisk doA Rod to a fan’s perspective? Rodriguez not only admitted to taking PED’s during his 22-year career, but also staged an extensive cover-up for the scandal. That incident earned A Rod a suspension that lasted the entirety of the 2014 season. In other words, A Rod didn’t just cheat—he raised it to an art form! He took it to a Big Apple, Yankee-esk degree that left Red Sox fans more than pleased.

How Should Fans Receive A Rod?

As he says goodbye to the game and to Red Sox fans, he should not feel welcome at Fenway Park. What Alex Rodriguez has done to the game of baseball is inexcusable and he should not be honored for it. Fenway Park should be littered with jeers and curses when #13 in gray steps up to the plate. No more of these video tributes, no gifts, just pure backlash. Being a long-time professional, it may not affect A Rod that much. That does not matter. This can show that Red Sox fans have not softened and still take pride in themselves and the game.

The way I see it, there is really no excuse to give this schmuck any sort of applause. He cheated, he lied, and he dragged baseball through the mud. To be honest, it could not have happened to a worse guy. Rodrgiuez has always been known as a bad teammate and it has showed. For all intents and purposes, he was fired by the Yankees. According to Rodriguez, Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees chairman, “reached out” to him to retire now. It is obvious that he’s lost a step with 9 home runs and 29 RBI while batting just .204 in a mere 62 games this season.

In 2014, Derek Jeter played his last ever game at Fenway. Red Sox fans cheered him on and called on him for a curtain call and deservedly so. While a Yankee, Jeter was still a terrific ambassador for the game who did always conducted himself with class. If Rodriguez receives an ovation anywhere close to that, Red Sox fans should be ashamed of themselves.

Xander Bogaerts is the Best Shortstop in Baseball

Xander Bogaerts is the best shortstop in the league and is overlooked by many. He came up in the Sox system and people marked him as a guy who had a 30 homer bat. The power hasn’t been there up to this stage in his career but even if he doesn’t develop into a power hitter, Bogaerts is as good as it gets in the batters box in baseball. While teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. has a 27 game hitting streak, some may not know that Bogaerts hasXander Bogaerts best shortstop the second longest hitting streak in baseball at 16 games.

Bogaerts has recorded a hit in 28 of his last 30 games and leads the American League in batting average at .346. During his hit streak he is hitting .403 with five doubles, three homers and four RBI’s. The most impressive part of the streak is the three homers. While Bogaerts was tabbed as a guy who had power potential down on the farm, that power has never shown at the big league level.

Is Bogaerts the Best Shortstop?

Many said Bogaerts could eventually develop into a 30 homer bat at a shortstop position where that type of power is very hard to come by. To put it in perspective, the last time a shortstop hit 30 homers in a season was in 2011, done so by Troy Tulowitzki and J.J Hardy. If Bogaerts ends up hitting 30 homers in multiple seasons, he may end up being one of the best offensive shortstops ever to play the game. Still 23 years old, Bogaerts could end up hitting in the 20-25 homer range at best. I do not see that happening until at least 25 years old though as he continues to evolve as a major league hitter. If the power doesn’t develop, what is Bogaerts potential?

Sox fans may remember a guy named Derek Jeter. When watching Bogaerts hit all I can think of is Jeter. They both spray the ball all over the field and are extremely tough to get out. The most homers Jeter hit in a season was 24, done so in 1999, his fifth season in the big leagues. Bogaerts is in his fourth season this year and will likely finish around 15-20 homers. Jeter got off to a faster start in his major league career than Bogaerts but Bogaerts figured it out last season having a better third season than Jeter had.

The comparison to Jeter may come off as far fetched but having the luxury of watching both of them play has been awesome and they are both very similar hitters offensively. Bogaerts still has a lot of time to cement his own legacy in the game and his great season last year followed by his torrid start this season should have Sox fans excited as we may have the new Jeter wearing number two in a Sox uniform.

Derek Jeter Ending Career In Boston

Derek JeterA man who needs no introduction, the heart and soul of the New York Yankees, is retiring. That is correct, Derek Jeter will be playing his last series as an MLB player against none other than the Boston Red Sox. This is because New York will not be playing in October or November for that matter this year.
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Although Jeter is not the greatest player of all time as some may think, he was one of the best in his prime. Calling him one of the greats is more acceptable, especially given the fact that he is a member of the 3000 hit club.

The 40-year-old Yankees captain is hitting .253/.301/.309 on the year with ten stolen bases on 12 attempts. To put it this way, he realizes he is no longer the Derek Jeter of the mid-2000’s and he deserves respect for calling it quits at the appropriate time unlike a couple former Red Sox players (Tim Wakefield…Jason Varitek).

As Jeter leaves New York, so does a highly successful era of Yankees baseball. Winning five World Series championships in New York, Jeter was the only active Yankee to do so. Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettite were members of this elite club until they retired last year.

Jeter is the only remaining member of the 2000 World Series on the Yankees, not to mention the only active player in all of baseball remaining from that team except for Randy Choate.
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Not once was Jeter ejected from a game, nor did he ever give the Yankees bad press. He acted as all ball players should on the field—with class.

Against Boston this year, Jeter is hitting .333/.377/.439 in 57 at-bats

It is up in the air whether or not Jeter plays in the Red Sox series since his team is eliminated from playoff contention. Manager Joe Giarardi has left that decision up to Jeter. Hopefully he plays out the rest of his time in the big leagues.

If he does choose to play, he will be facing knuckleballer Steven Wright on Friday, sinkerballer Joe Kelly on Saturday, and two-time All-Star Clay Buchholz on Sunday.

Although Jeter has never faced Steven Wright, perhaps his experience off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will come in handy. In 89 at-bats, Jeter collected 25 hits off Wakefield good for a .281 batting average.
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Off Joe Kelly, Jeter has collected a hit in three at-bats in all, and in 32 at-bats off of Clay Buchholz, Jeter is hitting .276 with no homeruns.

Given that Derek Jeter has less than 20 at-bats left in his MLB career, it is up to New York to fill the insufferable void he will be leaving them with as he leaves the game.

Derek Jeter Retires and Boston’s Tickets Sail

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On Wednesday, February 12, Derek Jeter announced he is retiring after the 2014 season. Immediately after, Boston’s tickets sailed to historical prices

It wasn’t long after Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees announced he was to retire after the 2014 season, Boston’s tickets sailed to historical prices. On Wednesday, February 12, Derek Jeter signed off the Yankee’s roster when he stated he would not be continuing his baseball career after the 2014 season. Moments after his announcement, tickets at Fenway rose a whopping 278.2% according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. At least for the final games against the Yankees, September 26-28. September 28 is supposedly Jeter’s last game of the regular season and there will be a remarkable farewell no one can miss. As remarkable, most say, as Mariano Rivera.

Prices soared Wednesday from $26.00 (cheapest) to $200.00. Face it,  Jeter is a hot commodity! The average ticket rose in an hour to $1,153.01 and right field boxes, at minimum cost, took wind to $11,002.55! Kudos to those who bought tickets prior to the announcement. I betcha you feel like you won the lottery.

Although a fierce rival to the Boston Red Sox, Derek Jeter is and always will be an icon, a role model to all. Even diehard Red Sox fans can admire the shortstop’s talent and enthusiasm for the game. Hence the reason why September 28 will be a day in history for baseball. Hence the rise in ticket sales. It will be a different game when he’s gone that’s for sure. One of the most “down to earth” players in the league, Pedroia states, Jeter has made the navy and white pinstriped uniform a national symbol of strength and endearment. Rookie, Daniel Nava of the Red Sox praised Jeter when in 2010 Nava was signed onto the Red Sox, stating he was the one to watch on the field.

His story is one to tell and who doesn’t want to be there, at Fenway, when Jeter is in his Yankee pinstripes one last time?  I know one thing is for sure—when he walks out onto the field that last inning, on September 28,  a wave of cheers will fill the stadium of Yankees and Red Sox fans alike. So is it really worth the rise in ticket sales?

Hell yeah it is!