May 8, 2014

Don't Worry About Bogaerts' Batting Splits

Xander Bogaerts's batting splits with runners on base versus when the bases empty has become a talking point recently and, perhaps, of some concern among fans. We're looking at only 32 games of information, so the sample size is still pretty small (132 plate appearances), but there is no denying the extreme difference.
             PA   AVG   OBP   SLG    OPS  BABIP
Bases Empty  80  .328  .438  .418   .855   .447
0 Out/0 On   33  .444  .545  .519  1.064   .545
Runners On   52  .178  .288  .267   .555   .250
RATS (RISP)  35  .125  .200  .188   .388   .167
John Farrell:
There may be a tendency to expand the strike zone at times with him, particularly up with the fastball and off the plate away with the breaking ball. Whereas we've seen a selective, patient approach with nobody on base, there might be more of a tendency to swing the bat in those situations. ... Without much reservation, I can say that those guys [Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley] are facing things for the first time in those key moments in the game that they haven't faced at the minor-league level. That's part of the growing experience.
Bogaerts did not drive in a run this year until his 15th game, and he has no RBI since April 24. He has only five RBI for the year. (He drove in five runs last year, in only 50 PA). (Presumably, the Red Sox's front office continues to not give a shit about counting RBIs.)

The confidence and maturity Bogaerts has shown at the plate since he was called up last August has been impressive. It's instructive to remember that, despite his assured performances during the playoffs and World Series last fall, Bogaerts is only 21 years old and this entire season will be a tremendous learning experience as teams adjust to his strengths and weaknesses and he then is forced to adjust to those adjustments. Even with his poor performance with men on base over the first five weeks of the season, Bogaerts is second on the team with a .379 OBP.

What's going on right now is that things aren't falling. The hits aren't coming when I need them, but it'll turn around. You can't keep a good man down for too long.
(OTM's Joon Lee had a good post on this same subject yesterday, with some quotes from hitting coach Greg Colbrunn.)

1 comment:

FenFan said...

Bogaerts is currently the second youngest player in the league; Luis Sardinas of Texas turns 21 in about a week.

I distinctly remember Pedey's struggles early in his first full season with Boston and it would be interesting to see his numbers side-by-side with Bogie's. There's no guarantee that he will turn it around in the same way as Pedey, but one month of baseball is such a small sample size.

We are witnessing the future at shortstop and I envision him being there for years to come.