I originally planned this to be an extended, 5,000-word treatise on the greatness of Xander Bogaerts. How all of Red Sox Nation was calling for his head (or at least his demotion) in 2014, how he lost his job to Stephen Drew, how he could have easily lost his mojo at the tender age of 22 with all the negative vibes being sent his way, and how he bounced back in 2015 to prove his critics wrong.
Instead, I just want to use this post to say that in the storm of shit that the past month became, as all the good vibes built up in May were flushed down the chute in a 10-16 June, as pitchers flailed and bats fell silent and the bullpen looked tragically inept, the X Man continued to shine.
Alright, he may not have been as stellar as he was in May, perhaps showing some signs of fatigue. But over his last 30 games, he hit .324 with an .815 OPS, swatted 3 home runs to surpass his entire 2015 total (7 last year vs. 9 in 2016) and knocked in a team-leading 20 RBIs. On the season, he’s been showing more patience at the plate; as Ian Browne points out, X walked 32 times in 654 plate appearances last year; this year, he has 27 in 322. He currently has one less hit than the guy with the most hits in the league (Jose Altuve has 111 to X’s 110) and will almost certainly — barring injury or alien invasion — end the season with over 200. If I had any money to drop at M88, he’s the only guy I’d place an online bet for (with the possible exception of the Immortal David Ortiz). Further, if X isn’t the starting shortstop for the American League in the 2016 All Star game, I swear to God I will burn everything to the ground and/or kick the Commissioner of Baseball right in the onions.
Coming out of June was like emerging from the storm shelter after a monsoon. Our big free agent signing is 5-8 with a 4.74 ERA. The starting rotation’s in shambles. We’ve dropped from first place to five games out. There aren’t a lot of things you can bet on with this year’s team. But if you’ve got the money for online betting, always bet on Xander.