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Friday, September 18, 2015

Xander Bogaerts could go from All-Star snub to batting champ

Miggy -- I want YOU! (Getty Images)

Look out, Miguel Cabrera, someone is gaining on you.

On Sept. 1, Xander Bogaerts was batting .316 after a 2-hit game against the Yankees. Cabrera, Detroit's dynamic first baseman, was at .359 after 2 hits of his own against the Royals -- and seemingly a lock for his fourth AL batting title.

In the three weeks since, while most New England sports fans focused on David Ortiz's quest for 500 home runs and the start of the Patriots season, Bogaerts has continued his season-long consistency at the plate. A slumping Cabrera, meanwhile, has seen his average hit a free-fall. 

Entering play tonight, Cabrera -- 1-for-21 in his last six games -- is at .335. While this mark still leads the league, Bogaerts has hit .375 for the month to make what was once thought a runaway into a race.

Miguel is mystified. (Getty Images)

The way both players are trending, Bogaerts has a real chance of wiping out the 14-point gap between them. After a .240 rookie season last year, Bogaerts has been one of the game's most consistent hitters all of 2015. He has batted .312 or better each of the past four months and his .345 mark since May 31 leads all of MLB.

Cabrera is headed in the opposite direction. Since a ground-ball single against the Royals his first time up on Sept. 10, he has gone hitless in 20 straight official at-bats (plus three walks). He hasn't homered in 18 games, and while he claims he's not injured -- he missed more than a month mid-season with a strained calf -- clearly something is not right.

Further working against Cabrera is the state of the two teams. Neither the Tigers or Red Sox is playing for the postseason, but while Boston has injected life into its late summer with a dynamic young nucleus including Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr., Detroit is essentially playing out the string with a lackluster lineup that offers their two-time MVP little protection.  

Young Guns are shining for Boston.

Just 17 games are left in Boston's season, so Bogaerts can't afford many off-days and nights if he's going to have a shot to overtake Cabrera. The way he's hit all year, however, it doesn't appear a slump is likely. 

Whatever happens, it will make for a fun few weeks of box-score glancing. 


  1. What is a wonderful change of pace is the fact that the "X-man" is letting his bat do all the talking this year as opposed to a lot of ball players who just jibber jab, say nothing productive, self-promote and eventually descend into obscurity. Go get "em Xander. You are a class act.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more. Bogaerts appears to be a real class act in the Robin Yount-like mode of shortstops -- older and more mature than his years and short on self-promotion. I don't think the fame will go to his head, just his bat.