BOSTON — The Red Sox haven’t lost faith in Xander Bogaerts despite the rookie’s current slump.
Bogaerts is hitting .082 (6-for-73) since June 7, lowering his average to .245 and his on-base percentage to .324. Red Sox manager John Farrell has acknowledged that Bogaerts is striving to make adjustments, and it appears those changes will occur at the major league level, as the skipper said before Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park that Boston hasn’t even considered demoting the 21-year-old to Triple-A Pawtucket.
“Obviously, he cares. He’s accountable for his actions, both in preparation and the ultimate results. What we monitor is if, does that become a distraction inside the lines? And right now, it’s not,” Farrell said. “He is working on some things, particularly with his balance and trying to keep his legs underneath him rather than lunging to the front side. Those are things we’re hopeful will start to show up in games.”
Bogaerts has just two hits in 42 at-bats over his last 11 games (.048 average). Only one of his six hits since June 7 has gone for extra bases. Bogaerts looks lost at the plate, but the organization still thinks very highly of the young infielder, who entered the season ranked the No. 2 prospect in Major League Baseball.
“It might be a little bit more prevalent for a guy who’s still creating a foundation here at the big league level, where those swings of confidence might be a little bit wider,” Farrell said Wednesday when asked how much the Red Sox must monitor Bogaerts, both mechanically and mentally. “But this is also somebody that we believe in and are going to continue to have him in the lineup and provide opportunities.”
Bogaerts looked like one of the Red Sox’s most productive offensive players earlier this season, hitting .299 with a .387 on-base percentage until falling into his current slump on June 7. There’s obviously some concern that he’s no longer performing at such a level, particularly given his importance to the Red Sox’s long-term success, but Farrell insists there’s not one strategy the organization deploys when it comes to determining whether a player is better off staying in the majors or going back to Pawtucket for additional seasoning. And there definitely isn’t a set number of games used to determine whether a player indeed is big league ready.
“You’re reading body language. You’re getting a sense inside your conversations with guys and how they’re dealing with things,” Farrell said. “There’s going to be times when we give young players a breather — that has taken place with Xander, it’s taken place with Jackie (Bradley Jr.) — but when you get to the point where you’re not getting five days a week on the field (and you factor in) those number of at-bats that are being missed, then you start to consider the alternative. Like I said, we’re not at that point yet.”
It’s obvious that something needs to change for the Red Sox’s offense. Just don’t expect that “something” to involve Bogaerts. Boston is riding this one out.