It’s been two full seasons for Xander Bogaerts and so far the power just hasn’t arrived. In those 1434 plate appearances he has 22 total home runs or averaging 10 home runs a season. He’s still a long way from his power prime being only 23 years old, but it’s possible Bogaerts will be fine even if it doesn’t come.
His age makes it clear he’s not even close to his ceiling and power increases well as players enter their prime in the area of the age 25 season. From there players peak around 28 to 30 and then begin to decline. So based on that Bogaerts should see even better production over the next 2-5 seasons. That said he might never become the 20 home run shortstop many had hoped for him.
Bogaerts has not hit more than 15 home runs in one year at any level above high A ball. He did total 15 homers across Double A, Triple A and the majors in 2013. That said his SLG values have been consistent around a solid .450 in Triple-A and the majors, but not the numbers of a 20 home run hitter yet.
Without that home run threat yet Bogaerts has had to rely on solid contact skills and an ability to get on base at higher than average rates for his contact. His career BABIP so far in a very good sample size is .340. Last season he finished the season at .372 for a full season and so his .360 this season is not that shocking. I can’t really say there is a good reason for it though. His line drive rate is near league averages as well as his fly ball rate. According to Fangraphs his hard hit ball percentage is not very impressive either at 30 percent.
Regardless of why he does so well getting on base it’s evident over a good sample that he does. Getting on base and hitting for solid doubles power is a key to Bogaerts and using the home field is evident. At home Bogaerts has a wOBA of .346 in his young career and .s95 on the road. He has a home SLG of .431 and on the road it is .365.
Clearly Bogaerts benefits from the green monster in Fenway park, but also suffers due to lack of homers over the monster. In the end the offensive production is among the best at the position not to mention his production in the field. He’s been a solid defender give or take some shaky numbers from his first full year in 2014. At the shortstop position he has a UZR/150 of 2.2 and that has been improving the last three seasons.
Since 2014 there have only been four shortstops ranked above Bogaerts in terms of fWAR even though he has 13 home runs less than the lowest of that group. His value is in his ability right now to effectively get on base and be a solid glove in the field. The Red Sox lineup just needs bodies on the bases and Bogaerts is willing to supply. The only major concern without power for Bogaerts is what happens to a fickle number like BABIP. Any season his luck could change and without a few no doubt home runs his numbers might not look so good to Red Sox fans.