Red Sox Players’ WBC Performances

The 2017 World Baseball Classic was one that will go down in history. The combination ofWBC Performances flare for dramatics, swag, and genuinely good baseball will make sure of that. The best players in the world getting to represent their country is always a special event. For the fans, their favorite players from their favorite teams don a new jersey. Following Team USA’s exciting victory over Puerto Rico, it officially became time for Red Sox baseball. The team has been playing in spring training games and tuning the roster up for Opening Day. The participants who are also Red Sox players missed time with the team to play for their home country. Let’s see what their WBC performances consisted of.

Xander Bogaerts’ WBC Performance

The Netherlands were a team that did not have much big league talent. Regardless, the team made a push in the tournament to reach the semifinal. They were defeated by Puerto RIco by a score of 4-3 in 11 innings. The team’s best hitter was a man named Wladimir Balentine, who hit a whopping .615 in the tournament. Xander Bogaerts ultimately went 5-22 (.227) in 17 games, scored 5 runs, and drove in 2 runs. He has always been a “put the ball in play” type of hitter, and managed to only strike out once all tourney long. Bogey had a OBP of .419.

Red Sox Players’ WBC Performances

Fernando Abad threw 2 & 1/3 innings for the DOminican Republic in the WBC. He got a win for one of the most exciting teams in the tournament. Abad was 1-0, had an ERA of 0.00, stuck out 1 while walking 1, and gave up 2 hits. We’ll have to wait and see if he finds a spot back in the Red Sox bullpen this year.

It certainly would have been interesting to see what Hanley Ramirez could have done in the WBC for the Dominican Republic. Ramirez decided to not partake in the event due to a lingering shoulder soreness. He plans on returning to playing the field for Boston by the end of spring training.

The same goes for Eduardo Rodriguez. E-Rod has been pitching for the Red Sox during spring training, and was on the Venezuelan roster as one of the pitchers they could pick up later in the tournament. The team requested Rodriguez, but he denied the request. The Red Sox will continue to monitor Rodriguez’s situation with his knee, as well as simply watch the young man progress.

No Red Sox players emerged as heroes in the World Baseball Classic like some thought they would. The leadership and determination of Xander Bogaerts had to have played a role in the Netherlands semifinal run. Fernando Abad pitched in one game, while Hanley Ramirez and Eduardo Rodriguez simply did not partake. Now that the WBC is over, it is time for Red Sox baseball.

Xander Watch Final Update

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With a 4-1 defeat last night at the hands of the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands were bounced from the World Baseball Classic. For Red Sox fans, that means that prized prospect and Dutch citizen Xander Bogaerts will return to spring training for the duration of March.

The first order of business will be determining which spring camp Bogaerts will be heading to. He finished last season playing for Portland and will likely begin there this season, however, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE; John Farrell would like to see Bogaerts get some at bats with the big league club in Fort Myers. There are still plenty of players in the Sox camp who will not be on the opening day roster, so it makes sense to add Bogaerts to the group even if he is not competing for a spot.

However the timing might be perfect for the 20-year-old infielder. Projected everyday shortstop Stephen Drew has recently been ruled out of playing on opening day because of concussion like symptoms, and shortstop of the future Jose Iglesias has had a lackluster spring at the plate (batting just .220). Bogaerts played 3B for the Netherlands in the WBC, but Farrell thinks, “He’s still, in our eyes, a shortstop.”

If Bogaerts can enter camp and string together a few good games at the position, he could play himself into a big role in this organization very early in the 2013 campaign.

 

Xander Watch Update #4

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Xander (left) celebrating a win

Xander Watch was in full effect early this morning as the Netherlands faced off with Cuba in an elimination game. This was the first game of the tournament in which Xander Bogaerts didn’t get the starting nod. When I learned of this fact, at 6 am in the morning, I nearly fell immediately back to sleep. However I decided to stay up and watch the game anyway; what a good decision that ended up being.

In a back and forth affair that could be argued as the best WBC game so far this year, the two combatants were tied heading into the seventh inning. That’s when Bogaerts was taken off the bench and put into the game. In the bottom of the seventh, he batted with 2 men on and 2 men out. It was an almost impossible situation for someone to enter the game cold and give their team a lift, which was made even more impossible by the nasty sliders he kept receiving.

A Xander strikeout ended the inning. He would return to the dish once more in the bottom of the ninth, again with 2 men on base but this time with 1 out. With the fast turf in Tokyo, it would have been hard for Bogaerts to drive in the slow, 75 year old, Andruw Jones on second with a single. He would have to move him over to third without recording an out, to leave the sacrifice fly in play. After going down 0-2 in the count, he battled his way back and ended up looping a single into right field that did just that. The very next batter hit a game winning, walk-off, sacrifice fly.

This was by far Xander’s biggest hit of the tournament. It’s good to see he can come off the bench and make such a large impact, which is most likely going to be the role he’s assigned when he finally makes his way to Fenway. He even got some love from a fellow top prospect. Things are looking bright for the future of the Sox.

Jackie Bradley Jr. congratulates another rising young star

Jackie Bradley Jr. congratulates another rising young star

Xander Watch Update #3

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Source: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images AsiaPac

Since the last update, Xander Bogaerts and the team from the Netherlands have been surviving. In their final Pool B game against Australia, Holland earned a 4-1 victory. Bogaerts showed he could help his team in multiple ways with plays like a sacrifice bunt to move two players over in the third and a lead off double in the eighth. This win pushed Holland through to the next round on a run differential tiebreaker with Korea.

Round 2 began with the Netherlands playing the role of underdog against Cuba. For the second time in as many rounds, the Dutch began play with an upset. They defeated the Cubans 6-2, with Bogaerts again reaching base by way of the bunt. We’re starting to get a feel for what kind of player he could be, and the speedster/small ball type infielder is one the Sox haven’t had in a while.

That win put the Netherlands in a position to clinch a trip to the final four in San Francisco, if only they could beat Japan this morning in Tokyo. What they got instead was a drubbing. Bogaerts didn’t even bat until Japan was up 6-0 in the second. The next time he was scheduled to bat, he was pinch hit for with an 11 run deficit. Japan went on to mercy rule the Netherlands.

Now it all comes down to one more final game against Cuba. Win and your in the final four, lose and it’s all over. Once again, the Netherlands will be huge underdogs. I’m interested to see what Sox fans think about this; would you rather have Bogaerts done with the WBC and back in Fort Myers, or do you want to see him on the big stage in San Francisco?

Xander Watch Update #2

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Full disclosure, I didn’t actually get a chance to watch any of this game. MLB Network decided to broadcast the Japan/Brazil game instead and not even in the dark depths of the Internet could I find a quality Netherlands vs. South Korea stream. Who would have thought? However, I still followed along with the MLB.com box score… at 6:30 in the morning… on a Saturday… I think I need the season to start.

Anyway, a couple quick notes on Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts. He got the start for the Netherlands playing third base and batting sixth. In all Red Sox publications, Bogaerts is listed as a shortstop, however he is still at the point in his career where he can be tried out at multiple positions. In the field he didn’t disappoint. He had several put-aways from the hot corner highlighted by an impressive leaping field and throw that started a crucial double play in the sixth inning. Check out the play here: http://mlb.mlb.com/wbc/2013/video/?content_id=25648301&query=game_pk%3D361259

From the plate, Bogaerts went 0-2 with a walk, however that stat isn’t telling of the impact he truly had. In the second inning, he dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Andruw Jones over from 2nd to 3rd base. Jones would later score the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by the next batter. This run proved to be the difference between the teams as the Netherlands shutout Korea.

Overall, it was a notable debut for a future member of the local nine. The Netherlands return to action tomorrow against group favorite Chinese Taipei at 1:30 am. I’m interested to see how Xander reacts to this bigger stage.