BOSTON — Xander Bogaerts might not end up earning a spot in next week’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but for the 22-year-old shortstop, even being considered for that opportunity is reason for excitement.
Bogaerts is one of five nominees for the American League’s Final Vote, in which fan voting determines who the 34th and final All-Star representative from each league will be. If he is selected, Bogaerts would join Red Sox teammate Brock Holt — the only Boston player to earn an All-Star nod the conventional way — in Cincinnati next Tuesday.
“It’s been an honor to be mentioned in that category, in the Final Vote,” Bogaerts said Tuesday as the Red Sox prepared to host the Miami Marlins at Fenway Park. I’m definitely happy for Brock — a good teammate, good friend of mine. We’ll see what happens.”
Bogaerts is in the midst of the best season of his young career, boasting a .303/.339/.414 slash line though 80 games while also showing marked improvement in the field. Many predicted he’d be the underperforming Red Sox’s lone All-Star representative this season, but AL manager Ned Yost instead opted for Holt, citing the utility man’s versatility.
“It is what it is,” Bogaerts said of the snub. “I’m happy that Brock got it. Brock has been having a good year for us this year, (and) last year also. At least I have another chance. It’s not like I’m completely out. I have a chance in the Final Vote. Hopefully, if me and Brock can see each other over there (in Cincinnati), it would be fun.”
Joining Bogaerts on the AL Final Vote ballot are Detroit Tigers outfield Yoenis Cespedes, Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Royals fans have been particularly active in All-Star voting this year, helping four Kansas City players earn spots in the AL’s starting lineup.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Tuesday he hopes Bogaerts is rewarded for the great strides he’s made in this, his second full major league season.
“Bogey, we’ve talked about a lot,” Farrell said. “He continues to come along as a player. Playing at a high rate and a high speed. Offensively he’s doing a great job, and hopefully that’s going to generate the recognition deserved. He’s in with a very good and talented group of five guys for that last spot, so I’m proud of both guys (Bogaerts and Holt) being where they are.”
An All-Star selection surely would be meaningful for Bogaerts, but he directed each question back to his No. 1 task at hand: helping the 39-45 Red Sox in their continued effort to climb out of the AL East basement.
“The main focus right now is just helping the team win,” Bogaerts said. “We know we’ve got a huge homestand right now with (the Marlins) and especially the Yankees coming in. Just trying to keep focused right now.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images