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Xander Bogaerts is not a failure

May 30, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

Xander Bogaerts AP

Last Friday, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote that the truth is the Red Sox may not be very good. Starting Monday they won four in a row, so take that all for what it’s worth.

But he also had individual criticism for the Red Sox’ infield. Particularly the left side, which he characterized as “the Bogaerts-Middlebrooks left-side failure.”

Since then, Bogaerts has gone 11 for 30 (.367) with three doubles, three walks, three RBI and six runs scored. On the year he is now hitting .296/.388/.425. He also is 21-years-old. One far more respected Boston columnist weighed in on all of this:

Decide for yourself if Shaughnessy doesn’t actually understand how good Bogaerts is or if, alternatively, he’s merely playing the age-old game of stirring the pot and looking to make scapegoats. Whichever you decide, though, it doesn’t change the fact that he is about as wrong as can be about one of the most exciting and promising players in all of baseball.

  1. tbird05 - May 30, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Sho nuff…sounds like an idiot to me. As a Braves fan, I sure wish he was right (at least for the last 4 days).

    • El Bravo - May 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      Is it me or the the Red Sox always beat up on the Braves when they play each other? Seems like it based upon my terrible memory.

      • Caught Looking - May 30, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        The Red Sox lead the series 30-28 since Interleague play began in 1997. However, since 2004, they are 20-8 against the Braves.

      • El Bravo - May 30, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        Yikes. I guess my memory still works okay. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting on that.

  2. hojo20 - May 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Too much of a rush to get these guys to the majors. I recall the days where guys had time to learn their craft in the minors before getting called up.

    • paperlions - May 30, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      No you don’t because those days never existed. There are no more young players in the majors now than there used to be.

      • 18thstreet - May 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        I remember the days when the Red Sox pissed away two years of Wade Boggs so they could sign 48-year old Tony Perez to play first. But that’s an anecdote. Paperlions is right.

    • bronco58lb - May 30, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      Bogaerts was the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year in 2013. The exceptional performers deserve to move up the ladder quickly.

    • Jack Marshall - May 30, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      Leaving a player so obviously ready in the minors would be madness and incompetent.

    • cohnjusack - May 30, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      Too much of a rush to get these guys to the majors. I recall the days where guys had time to learn their craft in the minors before getting called up.

      Let’s see, Xander came up at age 20. Who came up at age 20 or before?

      Hank Aaron
      Ken Griffey Jr
      Eddie Mathews
      Willie Mays
      Jimmie Foxx
      Mickey Mantle
      Mel Ott
      Stan Musial
      Al Kaline
      Ted Williams
      Robin Yount
      Johnny Bench
      Orlando Cepeda
      Frank Robinson
      many, many more.

      In fact, I’m willing to guess that fewer players are rushed to the Majors these days than in the days of yore. I have nothing to back this up, but that would be my guess.

      • carpi2 - May 30, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        You’re probably right, on your hunch. A lot of teams, today, try to play the clock game on young players’ arbitration eligibility. Young superstars may be held from being called up by 1-1.5 years, because of financial reasons.

    • cohnjusack - May 30, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      Also, why do you think Bogaerts hasn’t “learned his craft”? The guy’s OPS is 25% than league average when you adjust for park factors. It ranks first among AL shortstops.

      But…he has to “learn his craft”?

      • Kevin S. - May 30, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        There’s certainly nothing left for him to learn in the minors. At a certain point, one needs the bigger challenge.

  3. El Bravo - May 30, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    He’s a clown.

  4. pinkfloydprism - May 30, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Sho-nasty does not understand reality…

  5. tfbuckfutter - May 30, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Moving him to 3rd to make room for Stephen Drew in the midst of a most likely lost season would be a huge failure.

    Just not Bogaerts’ failure.

    • 18thstreet - May 30, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      I wouldn’t say the season is lost, not with all the playoff spots available. I think the division is a lost cause.

      Fangraphs still has them with a 33 percent chance of making the post season. (

      It really depends if Workman and De La Rosa can preform as major league players, replacing Doubront and Buchholz for the rest of the year. If they can provide modest quality (ERAs of, say, 3.80), I think the team can make the playoffs. So many teams still in the hunt.

      • Jack Marshall - May 30, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        The division in upside down. You are conceding the division to the Jays then, who have the exact same weaknesses–age, injury-prone players, defense, pitching—that they did last year when they finished last? Ridiculous. Nothing like judging a team in the middle of a winning streak. Or the Sox with several regulars injured and following a rather flukey losing streak (Andrew Miller lost four games, and pitched badly in none of them).

        Of course the team can make the play-offs. It’s MAY. It can also win the division. In 1967, the Sox hit the All-Star game 6.5 games out of first place, and that team was probably worse than this one. The Sox are currently 7 out. If they get as lucky as that ’67 team, sure they can win. I wouldn’t bet on it, but saying it can’t happen is silly.

      • 18thstreet - May 30, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        I was about to say “I don’t think the division is a lost cause,” and then I re-read what I wrote. Whoops.

        Okay, safer to say that I think it’s unlikely that they’ll win the division.

        Thanks, Jack. I always like your comments.

  6. 18thstreet - May 30, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Decide for yourself if Dan Shaughnessy should be the highest paid columnist at the largest paper in New England.

    • baseballisboring - May 30, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      since you put it like that… no. i decide no.

  7. peymax1693 - May 30, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Shaughnessey was just paving the way for his inevitable “this team, and players like Bogarts in particular, showed they have the heart of champion by rebounding from an 11 game losing streak to capture the 2014 World Series.”

    And if they don’t rebound, he can say that he was right about their character all along.

  8. Detroit Michael - May 30, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    American League rookie class is looking very good:
    Xander Bogaerts
    George Springer
    Jose Abreu
    Masahiro Tanaka
    Dellin Betances

    • yahmule - May 30, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Yordano Ventura and James Paxton were looking good before their injuries as well.

  9. jcmeyer10 - May 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    That pic reminds me of “Target Lady” from SNL.

  10. jrob23 - May 30, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Not to defend Dan because he is the king of hyperbole, but the choice to go with Middlebrooks at 3b and Bogaerts at SS was a disaster. Middlebrooks has been abysmal when he’s actually been on the field. Maybe Dan was referring to his belief that Bogaerts at 3b and Drew at SS is the better combination. Seems to be working better so far. I know it requires reading comprehension skills, but I fail to see where he lambasted Bogaerts in that article. But we wouldn’t want to let facts get in the way of attacking actual journalists would we?

    • Jeremy Fox - May 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Umm, if he thought the problem was just Middlebrooks, or the Sox failure to sign Drew so that they wouldn’t have to play Middlebrooks, why would he name Bogaerts as part of the “left side failure”?

      Since he’s an actual journalist, I’m sure he’s capable of saying what he means. So if he characterizes “Bogaerts-Middlebrooks” as a “left side failure”, I think we should read him as saying that both Bogaerts and Middlebrooks are failures. Not try to find some implausible, convoluted reading where he actually meant to criticize Middlebrooks plus the Sox failure to sign Drew earlier.

      • jrob23 - May 30, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        Including Bogaerts in that discussion is for the fact that he is at SS instead of 3b with Drew not signed..i.e. they decided to go with Middlebrooks over Drew. The defense at both positions gets better with Drew as does the offense. But…you know…thinking…facts…all that

  11. canucks18 - May 30, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Does anyone even listen to the garbage Shaughnessy writes? He’s one in the same that had to eat his words after talking crap about the ’04 Red Sox. For a guy who looks like he couldn’t hack it at a slopitch game, he sure has a lot of crap to say, and ends up eating a lot of it.

    • 18thstreet - May 30, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      There was a time that he was a great writer.

  12. American of African Descent - May 30, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Where’s Gator? I haven’t seen Gator in a while.

  13. redsoxchamp11 - May 30, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    A) Shaughnessy is an idiot. Lets move on.
    B) With the way that Holt and Xander are carrying the offense right now, where is Drew going to slot in? I mean did we just spend $10m to motivate Xander?

  14. natstowngreg - May 30, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    You give us a choice. Shaughnessy is displaying ignorance of Bogaerts’ ability, or he is trolling for scapegoats.

    I reject your false choice. I say he’s doing both.

  15. bfriley76 - May 30, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    I don’t think Shaughnessy is actually this dumb (though I could be convinced otherwise). I think he’s just doing the same thing he’s done his whole career. Antagonizing Boston sports fans,

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