Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em: Could Xander Bogaerts Struggles Lead To A Demotion?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were high hopes for Bogaerts entering the season and things started off fairly well. However, the bottom dropped out in June as he was among the worst hitters in the game with a slash of .137/.176/.250. So, exactly what went wrong?

The first thing that jumps out is that his plate discipline apparently completely disappeared (strikeout rate // walk rate):

  • April – 21.7% // 12.3%
  • May – 22.0% // 10.2%
  • June – 26.5% // 2.9%

For a player with a 9.8% walk rate in the minors since 2011, it’s a disturbing drop and definitely tells a story. Unfortunately, it’s also not the only problem. Just look at his line drive rate // fly ball rate thus far:

  • April – 22.4% // 37.3%
  • May – 24.4% // 44.9%
  • June – 15.7% // 45.7%

To make matters worse, he owned an infield fly ball percentage of 15.6% in June. For a player who hit 16 HR between Double-A, Triple-A and the Majors last season, that type of fly ball seems significantly inflated. Power was never going to be his game, so if he is swinging for the fences his problems could easily continue.

It’s hard to say exactly what the issue is, if it was the arrival of Stephen Drew or maybe just general growing pains. Regardless, he needs to make an adjustment if he wants to start producing again. We would think he would, but it’s unfortunately not a guarantee.

With Will Middlebrooks back out on a rehab assignment, is it really unthinkable that Bogaerts gets sent to the minors to work out his issues (regardless of what the team is currently saying)? Just something to keep in mind, even though it may not be a likely outcome.

Obviously. Bogaerts is a player to hold onto in almost all formats, but for now he should be squarely on your bench.

Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central

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  1. Dave says:

    Over the last 31 days, his xBA of .202 shows he’s deserved these bad results, unfortunately. He’s hitting below the league average rate for “hard hit balls”, barely hanging onto league average contact and is quite frankly hurting your fantasy roster, even in the deepest of leagues.

    Rest of season he could hit 6-8 homers with a .250ish BA, but he could also take weeks to start trending upwards and at this point in the season, he may be better off on a competitor’s roster.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I definitely don’t disagree. If he’s not hitting and Middlebrooks is ready, I’d be shocked if he’s not at Triple-A despite what the team is currently saying (what do we really expect them to say?)

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