Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts one year removed from life as third baseman: 'I just had to live with it'

Rob Bradford
July 07, 2015 - 6:54 am

Xander Bogaerts is officially a shortstop, and judging by 2015 returns it appears that'€™s the way it'€™s going to stay for a long time. He has played well enough to be a candidate for the All-Star Game'€™s Final Vote, leading all American League shortstops in hits, doubles, RBI, slugging percentage, times on base and Wins Above Replacement. A year ago, what Bogaerts was identified as was a question mark. That was because, thanks to the midseason acquisition of Stephen Drew, the only existence he had ever known (except for a short postseason run) '€“ that of a shortstop '€“ was being stripped from him. What a difference 365 days makes. "Yeah, that was the toughest part for me, but I just had to live with it," Bogaerts said when he was moved from shortstop to third base for the final four months of the season. "I'€™m just here to help the team win, and obviously that was what the team thought was best." As it turned out, it wasn'€™t best for anybody. Bogaerts went on to play 44 games at third base, hitting just .182 with a .517 OPS while at the position. In those contests he manned third, the Red Sox went just 35-54. "I just felt the comfort level was never the same," Bogaerts said. "That said, I just had to play that way and I was blessed to have a chance to play every day." Two important things did unfold for the 22 year old, leading to his current success. First, he finished 2014 with confidence, hitting .313 with an .806 OPS in September. "I finished the season on a good note," Bogaerts remembered. "That was important." Then he made the commitment to attending EXOS (former Athletes Performance) in Phoenix for the offseason, resulting in an increased quickness and overall improved confidence in his physical capabilities. Elements like implanting a squat routine to improve leg strength '€“ which he has continued to use throughout the season --€“ have been instrumental in helping Bogaerts maintain his current success. "That was the first time I did something like that, so I didn'€™t know what to expect," he said. "You would hope it would be like that, but you don'€™t know what to expect so you don'€™t know what kind of results you'€™re going to get. It worked out well." And now, it has led him to the verge of spending his All-Star break in Cincinnati. "I'€™m not going to lie to you, it'€™s been a goal of mine," said Bogaerts of becoming an All-Star. "We'€™ll see."