The All-Star rosters were announced on Sunday, and the Red Sox will definitely have three representatives in the game on July 11 in Miami. Those representatives will be Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel and Mookie Betts. All three of those players are, of course, highly deserving of the honor. There is one more player on the Red Sox who could potentially find his way to the All-Star roster, and that is Xander Bogaerts.
One of the biggest snubs from the original roster, Boston’s shortstop is part of the American League’s Final Five. For those unfamiliar, this is the group of players who compete for the final roster spot. The winner is chosen by fan vote. You should be voting for Xander Bogaerts.
Obviously, his performance this season and over his career is a big reason for why he should be included in this game. Quite simply, Bogaerts is one of the best young players in the game at arguably the most important position on the diamond. He has been a great all-around player this season and has been the second best shortstop in the American League according to fWAR. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of that stat (and I’m not), it’s hard to argue against his all-around contributions.
But you know all that. If you’re reading this blog, you almost certainly know about Bogaerts’ .314/.366/.455 line, which is 13 percent better than league-average according to wRC+. You also know about his steady defense, which has a few holes but has developed to a higher level than most expected while he was coming up through the minors. That is a big part of the reason you should vote for him, but you don’t need me to fill you in there.
The most common reason you will hear from a Red Sox fan as to why they are not voting for Bogaerts is because they want their favorite players to get rest during the All-Star Break before the second half begins. While that is fair and I understand, this is a big deal for the players. For one thing, many (most? all?) of them get bonuses for being included on the roster. Obviously, these players make good money but it’s always nice to see them get a little more. Perhaps more importantly, this is big for their future legacies. Obviously, it’s too early to talk about Bogaerts and the Hall of Fame, but this is part of how these things are decided. Even if he’s not a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate down the road, he’ll always be referred to by how many All-Stars he made over the course of his career. Who are we to take one away just because we’re worried about what him possibly playing two innings could mean for the rest of the season? Now, the groin injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game throws a wrench into things, but we don’t know how serious that is at this point. Plus, if it is serious he’ll just keep himself out of the game but still be recognized as an All-Star. It’s a win-win.
Competing with Bogaerts in the final vote will be Didi Gregorius of the Yankees, Mike Moustakas of the Royals, Elvis Andrus of the Rangers and Logan Morrison of the Rays. Don’t let any of them get the money and the glory that comes with an All-Star roster spot. Give it to Xander. He’s earned it.