A little bit about Xander

I like Stephen Drew.

I liked him during the playoffs when he wasn’t hitting but seemed to get to every ball hit his way.

I liked him during the season as well, even when he started off slowly. Recall he was only hitting .154/.267/.250 at the end of April. Though many people said he was a below average shortstop, the stats say otherwise. Of all starting shortstops with more than 100 games at the position here is a chart of those players ranked by WAR:

Rk Player WAR/pos Age Tm G 2B HR SB CS BA OBP SLG
1 Andrelton Simmons 6.7 23 ATL 157 27 17 6 5 .248 .296 .396
2 Troy Tulowitzki 5.3 28 COL 126 27 25 1 0 .312 .391 .540
3 Elvis Andrus 4.2 24 TEX 156 17 4 42 8 .271 .328 .331
4 Jean Segura 3.9 23 MIL 146 20 12 44 13 .294 .329 .423
5 J.J. Hardy 3.7 30 BAL 159 27 25 2 1 .263 .306 .433
6 Ian Desmond 3.7 27 WSN 158 38 20 21 6 .280 .331 .453
7 Yunel Escobar 3.3 30 TBR 153 27 9 4 4 .256 .332 .366
8 Jhonny Peralta 3.3 31 DET 107 30 11 3 3 .303 .358 .457
9 Stephen Drew 3.1 30 BOS 124 29 13 6 0 .253 .333 .443
10 Alexei Ramirez 2.6 31 CHW 158 39 6 30 9 .284 .313 .380
11 Brandon Crawford 2.4 26 SFG 149 24 9 1 2 .248 .311 .363
12 Jed Lowrie 2.3 29 OAK 154 45 15 1 0 .290 .344 .446
13 Pedro Florimon 2.1 26 MIN 134 17 9 15 6 .221 .281 .330
14 Erick Aybar 1.7 29 LAA 138 33 6 12 7 .271 .301 .382
15 Zack Cozart 1.6 27 CIN 151 30 12 0 0 .254 .284 .381
16 Didi Gregorius 1.4 23 ARI 103 16 7 0 2 .252 .332 .373
17 Asdrubal Cabrera 1.2 27 CLE 136 35 14 9 3 .242 .299 .402
18 Clint Barmes 1.1 34 PIT 108 15 5 0 0 .211 .249 .309
19 Brendan Ryan 0.4 31 TOT 104 12 4 4 2 .197 .255 .273
20 Alcides Escobar 0.3 26 KCR 158 20 4 22 0 .234 .259 .300
21 Jimmy Rollins 0.2 34 PHI 160 36 6 22 6 .252 .318 .348
22 Pete Kozma -0.2 25 STL 143 20 1 3 1 .217 .275 .273
23 Starlin Castro -0.6 23 CHC 161 34 10 9 6 .245 .284 .347
24 Adeiny Hechavarria -2.1 24 MIA 148 14 3 11 10 .227 .267 .298
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/24/2014.

Stephen Drew was not the top shortstop, but he was in the top 10 and one of the top 5 shortstops in the AL.  Despite all the snarkiness he endured from the Boston media, he was a reliable defender at a premium position and an offensively productive player for the Sox. I bet you didn’t know that with 2 outs and runners in scoring positon Drew hit .311/.382/.639. I don’t know about clutch hitting, but Drew performed best with two outs. Here is another interesting tidbit – a chart ranking the 2013 Red Sox players with the highest slugging percentage with 2 outs and RISP:

Rk I Player SLG PA 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Stephen Drew .639 68 5 3 3 32 .311 .382 .639 1.022
2 Jonny Gomes .500 45 4 0 1 14 .306 .444 .500 .944
3 Shane Victorino .488 48 2 1 1 18 .317 .417 .488 .904
4 Mike Napoli .444 88 4 0 4 28 .222 .364 .444 .808
5 David Ortiz .429 77 4 0 2 20 .250 .455 .429 .883
6 Daniel Nava .417 72 1 0 3 23 .250 .375 .417 .792
7 Jose Iglesias .389 38 2 0 0 11 .333 .368 .389 .757
8 Mike Carp .385 27 3 0 0 8 .269 .296 .385 .681
9 Dustin Pedroia .380 80 5 0 1 25 .268 .350 .380 .730
10 Jarrod Saltalamacchia .367 67 5 0 0 18 .283 .358 .367 .725
11 Jacoby Ellsbury .293 66 3 1 0 14 .207 .292 .293 .585
12 Will Middlebrooks .238 48 2 0 1 11 .119 .229 .238 .467
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/24/2014.

Bet you would not have guessed that. The Sox, though, clearly noticed the value of Drew to the team since they never seemed to entertain any thought of pulling him from the starting lineup during the playoffs or even when he was mired in a slump.

With all that said, I love Xander Bogaerts even more then Stephen Drew and I’d prefer that he be the starting shortstop in 2014. It would seem that the Sox feel similarly because they’ve really not taken much of an interest in resigning Drew, despite their protestations otherwise. The Sox seem to be saying “Well, if you can’t find a job anywhere else we’ll take you back for a year.” I wouldn’t be averse to this arrangement, but I’d only want to see Drew back if it came at the expense of Will Middlebrooks’ playing time.  I don’t imagine, though, that Drew will want to move off shortstop.

So, what to make do Xander? Here’s an off the wall comparison for you. Xander and Mystery Player (by the way, I love this game). Both players made end of the year MLB debuts at age 20. Both were shortstops in the minor leagues. Like Xander, there were concerns that Mystery Player would have to move to third. Here are their minor league stats:

Xander Bogaerts

  • Age 17, Rookie Ball, 280 PA, .314/.396/.423, 7 2B, 3 HR
  • Age 18, A Ball, 296 PA, .260/.324/.509, 14 2Bs, 16 HR
  • Age 19, A+-AA, 532 PA, .307/.373/.523, 37 2B, 20 HR
  • Age 20, AA-AAA, .297/.388/.477, 23 2Bs, 15 HR
  • Age 20, MLB, 50 PA, .250/.320/.364, 2 2Bs, 1 HR

Mystery Player

  • Age 17, Rookie Ball, 270 PA, .264/.331/.301, 7 2Bs, 0 HR
  • Age 18, A-AA, 495 PA, .286/.337/.410, 28 2Bs, 8 HR
  • Age 19, AA, 611 PA, .276/.367/.492, 28 2Bs, 25 HR
  • Age 20, AAA, 507 PA, .288/.383/.535, 31 2B, 23 HR
  • Age 20, MLB, 40 PA, .128/.150/.278, 0 2B, 0 HR

Now, I’m not saying that these minor league numbers match up or that you can even compare minor league numbers from era to era, but there are some interesting similarities, no? I think Mystery Player was a tad more advanced, having spent his entire 19 year old season at AA and his entire 20 year old season at AAA. But, there is something here.

Have you figured out the Mystery Player? Here’s a hint, this shortstop made his MLB debut in 1981. Answer – Cal Ripken, Jr.

Wouldn’t that be a nice comparison!

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