For a right-handed hitter like Bogaerts, with his natural power stroke to right-center, the Monster was a tempting, taunting distraction.
When asked how much the Monster was in his thoughts at the plate early in the season he said, “A lot, I always used to tell the hitting coaches that, because my hips would fly open. Not wanting to do it, but just knowing that the wall is there just plays with your mind. And your mind is very important in this game.”
He struggled in the first half of May with a pull-happy approach that caused him to miss pitches on the outer half of the plate — his self-described 'happy zone.' At one point he even mentioned that he had hit more to left field in the first weeks of this season than in his whole minor-league career.
So what has changed?
Bogaerts did more early work with assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez and hitting coach Greg Colbrunn, but the drills and the message were the same: Stay middle of the field.
Now he seems to be translating it from the batting cage to the batters box.
The question is can he make the Monster work for him at Fenway?
Of course Bogaerts possesses the offensive talent and acumen to eventually make the wall work for him. His home run on Tuesday night, a first-pitch fastball, showed that he’s got quick enough hands to turn on a ball.
Can you imagine what will happen when he can start to leverage that all-field power?
Last season the PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina stated, "He’s got plus power. It’s only going to blossom when he learns to start pulling balls..."
Looks like Bogaerts has already starting connecting the dots.
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell