Xander Bogaerts burst on to the scene in 2013, showing incredible poise in the big leagues during the Red Sox run to the championship that year. He set his bar too high during that run, as a matter of fact, as he followed it up with a disappointing 2014 season in which he finished with a .240 average, 12 home runs and 138 strikeouts, per ESPN. So, what was different last year? The Red Sox brought in one Stephen Drew to play shortstop, because Xander was struggling defensively at the time. He made 10 errors in 44 games before Drew came in, according to ESPN.
That move was not good for his confidence, to say the least, as he struggled the rest of the way. He couldn’t break out of a months-long slump, and his defense was still bad, as he made 10 errors at 3rd in 99 games in 2014. That’s changing, it would seem, though, as Xander seems to be in a more comfortable place. He’s hitting .291 right now, and he’s capable of drilling the ball. One of the highlights of Tuesday’s 1-0 win was Xander Bogaerts smacking a double off the center field wall in the 7th. He would then come around to score on Rusney Castillo’s RBI single later in the inning.
And it’s not just getting it done with his bat. He’s getting it done with his glove, as well. He’s made 3 more plays than the average shortstop, which ranks 9th among active shortstops according to the Globe. He’s certainly progressed from last year, and it seems that he’s back on track after struggling so much last season. This kid is still 22, and while he’s not a superstar yet, I think he’s finally in a comfortable position. He showed us flashes of what he had in 2013, but he has a chance this season to really tap into his full potential. There’s no impending Stephen Drew signing this year to hurt his confidence, so this is his year to really make the shortstop position his. Hopefully, he can keep this up.