At no point in his development was Xander Bogaerts expected to become a player who would hit a massive number of home runs. Gone are the days of every elite shortstop prospect coming in and smashing 35 dingers. The reasons for that are a different topic entirely, but Bogaerts is among the best at his position in the league and without the threat of a 1998 Nomar Garciaparra-like power surge.
Bogaerts’ current career-high for home runs is 21, which he did in 2016. Including that season, he averaged 12.5 per year from 2014-2017. In 2016, he had that surge of sorts, blasting those 21 long balls, but he fell back to 10 a year ago, albeit in 84 fewer plate appearances. His isolated power was at .130 last year and was higher than that in 2016 (.152). It’s a realm the Red Sox are certainly happy with, especially now that J.D. Martinez is here to mash every ball he touches into outer space.
That makes the fact that Bogaerts has hit with more pop that much more exciting. His isolated power is at .218, which would be a career-high by a long shot. He also has nine home runs in 223 plate appearances, 26 extra-base hits overall and his slugging is at the .500 mark, something he’s never done for a full season. Those numbers have risen in line with increased hard contact and some more pull action as you’d expect. Even as he has slumped a bit over the last month and a half (.238/.320/.417), he is still getting lift on the ball, hitting six of his nine home runs after May started while posting an isolated power of .179 in that time.
Bogaerts’ most recent home run came on June 5 against Detroit, when he jumped on the initial offering of the fifth inning and deposited it in the bullpen in right field.
Xander Bogaerts puts the first pitch of the fifth inning into the seats. pic.twitter.com/2Kf79uWMdq— NESN (@NESN) June 6, 2018
That was the first home run he has hit to the opposite field this season, with the majority of his blasts going pretty far down the left field line, aside from one to dead center. As he more squarely lines up pitches to crush, Bogaerts is making better and better contact and its showing in his power profile. Is this a new Bogaerts? Maybe. He still doesn’t need to be someone that bats cleanup or hits 40 home runs, but if he is going to continue to utilize this newfound power into the summer, it could mean big things for a Red Sox offense that has sputtered lately.
We’ll start with some bad news today, as Carson Smith is going to miss the rest of the season. (Jason Mastrodonato; Boston Herald)
Andrew Benintendi is back to his old self, homering yesterday to keep that going. (Brett Cowett; BP Boston)
Rafael Devers also homered last night as he continues to try to be more consistent. (Alex Speier; Boston Globe)
But he will need to do so more quickly if he wants to stay with the MLB club. (Matthew Kory; The Athletic) ($$)
Alex Cora isn’t going to settle with just fine from Eduardo Rodriguez. (Chris Cotillo; MassLive)
The Red Sox finally completed the Roenis Elias trade. (Ricky Doyle; NESN)