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Entries in Xander Bogaerts (2)

Monday
Oct212013

The Future is Now for Xander Bogaerts

One of the great advantages of a fervent fan base is that by the time a player reaches the major leagues, he is well known and ready to sell merchandise in the team store. There is no question that Red Sox Nation has heard how good Jackie Bradley Jr. will be. And seen that Jose Iglesias is an amazing and flashy fielder with a weak bat, who made critical errors for Boston, and now, Detroit. And seen the ups and more frequent downs of Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox hype machine is always at work feeding the hungry masses.

But as much as we may have heard about about Xander Bogaerts, he looks like the real deal, not only for the future, but for right now.

Here is a kid who just turned 21 years old, who exhibits a maturity well beyond his years.

And how does the maturity manifest itself?

Patience.

He is very impressive

Barry Svrluga in the Washington Post quoted Bogaerts manager, Professor John Farrell: “It’s been really fun to see, actually,” Farrell said. “The smile on his face never goes away. There’s never the look on his face, there’s no deer in the headlights, any kind of those descriptions you might come up with. He’s a very mature and poised young man.”

Jason Mastrodonato on MLB.com quotes the Sox master chemist, GM Ben Cherington: "You can't predict a 21-year-old doing this."

"It's hard to put into words what poise he's shown in these games, these at-bats," Cherington said. "It's one thing to go up there, get a mistake and hit a ball hard. But he's had quality at-bats. He's seeing pitches, taking tough pitches -- it's pretty remarkable what he's doing."

Showing patience

I want to try and show you patience at the plate.

This first chart lists all the players on the two World Series teams who have had a least 10 plate appearances this postseason.
2013 Red Sox/Cardinals Batting (min 10 PA)
GPAABPP/PABBKHRunsAVGOBPSLUG
1. Xander Bogaerts (BOS)6116595.365137.500.7271.000
2. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)1045401583.51581610.400.467.525
3. David Ross (BOS)4119454.091331.333.400.556
4. Daniel Nava (BOS)41411725.143530.273.429.273
5. Matt Adams (STL)1145411874.16312115.268.333.390
6. Yadier Molina (STL)1145391874.1667104.256.356.359
7. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)1045391633.6249103.256.311.308
8. Carlos Beltran (STL)1147391954.1584105.256.383.538
9. Matt Holliday (STL)1146451663.6116116.244.261.444
10. Mike Napoli (BOS)1038331734.5551585.242.342.515
11. Shane Victorino (BOS)1045381643.6201294.237.341.342
12. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (BOS)827261164.3011561.231.259.269
13. Jon Jay (STL)1140341764.404775.206.282.206
14. Pete Kozma (STL)1030251073.574652.200.333.240
15. Jonny Gomes (BOS)927251114.112856.200.259.280
16. David Ortiz (BOS)1043351764.098675.200.349.486
17. David Freese (STL)1140371634.073973.189.250.297
18. Daniel Descalso (STL)101616583.630332.188.188.188
19. Will Middlebrooks (BOS)92623973.733942.174.269.261
20. Matt Carpenter (STL)1148421873.9041175.167.250.262
21. Stephen Drew (BOS)1036351444.0011231.086.111.143

Looking at the numbers and two stand out most prominently:
  • P/PA - No one this postseason has seen more pitches per plate appearance than Bogaerts. And while you may question an umpire's call here or there, Bogaerts makes pitchers work and has drawn five walks in just 11 PA.
  • Runs - Only Boston's leadoff batter, Jacoby Ellsbury, who has had 34 more plate appearances than Bogaerts, has scored more runs than Xander. Not only does Bogaerts work counts, works pitchers, but he gets on base and scores. His at bats affect what happens next for Boston.

The Xander PAs


  • Take a look at Bogaerts' plate appearances and you can see in all 11 times at the plate, he took the first pitch.
  • He chased only two pitches out of the strike zone.
  • Amazingly, in 11 plate appearances Bogaerts went to 3-2 seven times.
Xander Bogarts Postseason 2013
PAPP/PATakeStrk#Ball#Swng#Miss#ClStk#Foul#Chas#
1. Overall11595.364428311561342
2. 0-0 count011-116500600
3. 0-1162.0034231110
4. 1-005-35022300
5. 2-000-00000000
6. 2-102-11111000
7. 1-207-70700000
8. 2-2295.0073620112
9. 3-000-00000000
10. 3-101-01010010
11. 3-2786.2953530010
12. LCS Game 1177.0044331111
13. LCS Game 4122.0012010100
14. LCS Game 54194.751310963411
15. LCS Game 63196.331681131510
16. 0-203-30300000

On to the World Series

Bogaert's only had 50 regular season plate appearances but I would be surprised if we don't see him starting each game for the Sox this Series. I would also right now write his name in for Opening Day 2014...in ink.

This hype has not been overstated.
Monday
Dec172012

Stephen Drew Scuffling vs. High Stuff

The Boston Red Sox have signed shortstop Stephen Drew to a one-year, $9.5 million deal with $500,000 in possible incentives, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. The 29-year-old returned from a fractured right ankle suffered while sliding into home plate in July of 2011, splitting the season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Oakland Athletics. Drew played more like a guy on the fringes of the 25-man roster than someone deserving of an eight-figure salary, however, costing his clubs the better part of a win in the field and posting his worst OPS+ (79) since 2007.

While he's no Jose Iglesias with the glove, Drew could be worth the cash if he stops resembling Iglesias at the dish. To do that, he'll have to reverse his steep decline against pitches thrown high in the strike zone.

Here's a look at Drew's slugging percentage against high pitches over the past three seasons:

2010

2011

2012

Drew slugged .519 against high pitches back in 2010, which was nearly 120 points above the major league average. Drew's slugging percentage against high stuff fell to .466 in 2011, and it nosedived to just .210 in 2012. He hasn't hit a homer on a high pitch since he took Tim Lincecum yard on a curveball on September 29, 2010.

When he's not making weak contact against high pitches, Drew is whiffing at them. Here's his contact rate against high pitches from 2010-12:

2010

2011

2012

Drew missed 13.4% of the high pitches that he swung at in 2010, compared to the 19.6% major league average. His miss rate jumped to 24.8% in 2011 before declining slightly to 23.2% in 2012. Scuffling against high pitches, Drew's overall slugging percentage has dipped (from .458 in 2010 to .348 in) and his K rate has climbed (from 17.1% to 23.2%) three years running.

Even so, Drew is not a terrible stopgap option for the Sox. He gives Iglesias (who struggled to slug his weight during a big league cameo last season) more time to develop some modicum of offense, and he doesn't block Xander Bogaerts, whose Hanley Ramirez-like skill set could make him a star. Boston is paying Drew like a league-average starter, and he could be that. But to get back to his previous career heights, he has to handle the high suff.