Xander Bogaerts admits it's time to readjust his goals

Rob Bradford
September 23, 2019 - 11:24 am
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(The following is an excerpt from the latest "The Sunday Baseball Column" which ran on Sept. 21.)

Xander Bogaerts has a good chance at landing in the Top 10 in MVP balloting, which would be a first for the shortstop. It is a new existence that has him rethinking 2020.

"Coming into this year for sure it wasn’t," Bogaerts said when asked if MVP was ever a goal for 2019. "Maybe when you start getting better and better and better. Once you see yourself getting better maybe it becomes a possibility and you try and get it. Next year my mindset will be different and I’ll have higher expectations."

Then there is the reality of overtaking the guy who rolls out of bed at the end of March and lands with that season's MVP, Mike Trout.

"That’s kind of hard," said Bogaerts of somehow surpassing the likes of Trout. "We’ll see."

Believe it or not, Bogaerts fell well short of one of his main goals for this season - stealing more bases.

Despite showing better "sprint speed" than any other season in his career, Bogaerts in target to finish with his fewest number of stolen bases since 2014, heading into Sunday with just four in six attempts.

He has an explanation ...

"I think where I’m hitting is a little bit tougher," Bogaerts said. "Sometimes I’m hitting in front of J.D. or hitting in front of (Rafael) Devers. It’s kind of harder to run into an out knowing those guys can hit a double or J.D. hits one out of the park and I can score. If I was fifth maybe a little more.

"I have to be a little smarter and a little more for the team and not as selfish. Maybe if you’re hitting fifth the third or fourth hitter has already hit so maybe you can create something for the other guys. It’s hard, man. It’s hard.

"The other day I almost had one. I had an easy stolen base against Toronto. Devers had two strikes and I didn’t want to go when someone goes with two strikes and I hear, ‘He’s running!’ I don’t like that. I don’t want to do something to others that I don’t like. I do. I feel stronger. I should be able to get more, but it’s just the position. It sounds good but when you get in the middle of it it’s different."

Major League Baseball as a whole is on pace to total its fewest number of stolen base attempts since 1981.

Bogaerts heads into the finale of the Red Sox' series with the Rays hitting .304 with a .931 OPS and 32 home runs.