By nearly every statistical measure, Xander Bogaerts has been one of the best shortstops in baseball this season and easily could make a case for being the best. In fact, Bogaerts has been among the best at his position since the beginning of the 2018 campaign.
(We know, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa are superstars, but hear us out.)
Despite all that, the Boston Red Sox star has no shot of starting in the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. And that’s become par for the course for Bogaerts, who’s played in just one All-Star Game (starter in 2016) and annually is forced to watch the Midsummer Classic from home.
Understandably, the 26-year-old feels incredulous over the lack of support and respect.
“These past few years every time I’ve come up just short even though my numbers have been up there or better than most of the guys,” Bogaerts told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford prior to Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins. “It’s just so weird. I just miss out when in my opinion I should have been there. I just feel like it’s a routine, every year the same thing. It’s kind of getting annoying. But I don’t know what to do.”
Added Bogaerts: “Some people like some guys more than other guys. I just think (the statistics) speak for themselves. I don’t know how that goes a bit unnoticed or a bit unrecognized. Sometimes it’s sad, but that’s the way it is. It’s been like that the last couple of years. I’ve kind of gotten used to it. It sucks to say that and I don’t want to be that way, but it’s weird.”
Bogaerts (.300, 14 homers, 48 RBIs) is a virtual lock to make the American League roster as a reserve. And that would be an improvement upon last season, which saw him get left off the roster entirely despite racking up an .889 OPS with 16 homers in the first half.
“My numbers were … I was leading in so many different things,” Bogaerts said of the 2018 selection process. “I didn’t understand.”
This season, Bogaerts’ numbers even more impressive. He leads A.L. shortstops in runs (56), RBIs (48), on-base percentage (.389), doubles (23), and walks (43). He’s second in OPS (.923), slugging percentage (.534) and ranks third in home runs (14). He also has the highest WAR (3.4) and has the third-best defensive rating (5.3) on Fangraphs.
We know Twins breakout star Jorge Polanco (current voting leader) has been outstanding, but Bogaerts still is deserving of a starting nod. At the very least, he certainly deserves to be higher in the polls than sixth, which is where ranked Tuesday night.
But forget about comparing him to other shortstops. The reality is that Bogaerts has been one of the best players in all of baseball this year — period.
At the end of the day, Bogaerts’ is building a seriously impressive résumé despite not being an All-Star Game regular. He’s a two-time World Series champion, a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and already is an established leader in Boston’s clubhouse. He also signed a six-year, $120 million contract extension in April, a clear sign the Red Sox view him as an integral part of the franchise’s future.
Still, the Aruba native would welcome similar admiration from the rest of the baseball world.
“It would definitely mean a lot to me,” Bogaerts told Bradford. ” … The numbers speak for themselves.”
Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images