Xander Bogaerts' batted-ball profile raised concerns heading into the 2017 season, and those concerns proved to be justified as he produced at a below-league-average level at the plate (96 wRC+) in his age-25 season. Granted, Bogaerts was playing through a hand injury for most of the second half and may have altered his swing mechanics. He continued to put the ball on the ground at a high rate -- roughly half the time -- and his flyball rate fell to just over 30 percent, leading to a precipitous drop in power from his career-high mark of 21 homers in 2016. He walks at a good clip and doesn't strike out much, and there is value in a 10-15 player at shortstop in any format, but right now Bogaerts is more of a second- or third-tier option at the position rather than the fantasy building block many thought he'd be already at this stage of his career.
Bogaerts agreed to a one-year, $7.05 million deal with the Red Sox on Friday, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. This marked the second offseason he was an arbitration-eligible player. Bogaerts hit .273/.343/.403 with 10 home runs, 62 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 2017. While he's proven to be a durable commodity, Bogaerts has yet to break out in the way that many expected, and he profiles as a second- or third-tier option at shortstop heading into the 2018 campaign.
Bogaerts is out of the lineup Sunday against the Astros. Bogaerts has been putting on a show at the plate lately. Over the last seven games, he's hit .379/.419/.552 with five RBI. He's heating up at the right time for Boston, as the Red Sox are beginning a playoff series against Houston on Thursday. Deven Marrero will start at shortstop with Bogaerts out.
Bogaerts went 4-for-7 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch, two RBI and two runs scored in Friday's 13-6 extra-inning win over the Rays. Bogaerts delivered a ninth-inning single to complete a three-run ninth inning, extending the game into extra frames. He appears to be breaking out of the long, extended slump that began in July when he was hit by a pitch on the hand. Over the last six games, he's 10-for-24 with three RBI and eight runs scored. He's also been hit by pitches the last two games, which comes at a time when he's getting over the original hand injury.
Bogaerts will start at shortstop in Sunday's series finale against the Rays, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. Bogaerts had been given the day off Saturday while Eduardo Nunez started at short, but he was forced to enter the game when Nunez left with a knee injury.
Bogaerts is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Rays, Tim Britton of The Providence Journal reports. Bogaerts has struggled at the plate recently, going just 4-for-40 over his last 10 starts, so he'll get the day off to clear his head as Eduardo Nunez starts in his place at shortstop. With Bogaerts, Nunez, Rafael Devers, and Dustin Pedroia all vying for time around Boston's infield, manager John Farrell may choose to ride whoever is hot down the stretch.