If you were around for the call up of Xander Bogaerts, it was an extremely exciting time. Jackie Bradley Jr. was the first player of an inevitable wave of young Red Sox call ups in 2013, but bringing up Xander in August was HUGE. He was MLB’s 20th best prospect overall and Baseball America’s 8th overall, so to see a 20 year old kill it in Double-A and Triple-A get his call to The Show during a postseason (and eventual World Series win) run was phenomenal. It meant that there was promise for the Red Sox, and they did not have to buy all of their players to do great in the Baseball World. Having a young perspective of a deep playoff run is important to the team and makes it relative for his other younger teammates that have never experienced it like he has.
What is not important to the team, however, is his performance this season (more-so the second half). Xander is hitting .270 on the season with 52 RBIs and a 1.3 WAR, but his 2017 stat line as a whole does not tell the whole story. The second half numbers are shocking but unsurprising if you have been watching him play lately. He is hitting .205, 11 RBIs, 2 HR and has twice as many strikeouts as walks. The last 7 days, he is hitting .063 with 8 strikeouts and 1 hit. Some would say this is only a slump, but for someone that was known for his stellar average this is worrying. Batting is only a part of the story, as he has committed 15 errors on the season, the most in his young career and most on the team, 8 more than the second highest in errors committed. Defensive runs saved is -13, in comparison, Mookie Betts’ defensive runs saved is +28.
Xander has transformed from a promising, young and proven MLB player into a total liability on both sides of the field. Every player hits skids like this in their career but if Xander doesn’t figure all of this out, he may see his playing time reduced when the games matter more than they do already.