News flash: Xander Bogaerts is the best shortstop in baseball. Period. It would take A LOT of convincing to change my mind.
Just to clear this up, Manny Machado is a 3rd baseman playing shortstop. If J.J. Hardy was not hurt, Machado would be at 3rd base. If Machado was actually a shortstop, then we would have a real debate on our hands.
By the numbers, Bogaerts is the best offensive shortstop in the game and it is not even close. Following play Monday, he leads all MLB shortstops in hits, runs, doubles, batting average, OPS, and WAR. Just for good measure, Bogaerts also has 7 steals, 6 homers, and 30 RBIs (ranks in the top 10 for these categories as well). Oh yeah, he also has a 23 game hitting streak and is 2nd in OBP for shortstops too.
The approach Bogaerts takes at the plate is phenomenal. He always appears to be in control. You don't see him give away at bats. His ability to just go with the pitch has made him an elite hitter. He is just as content with a single to right as he is with a mammoth home run to left. As the 3 hole hitter in the best lineup in baseball, Xander does the job perfectly. He is not conventional power hitter in the middle of the order, but he keeps the line moving. There is something to be said for that.
On the defensive side, Bogaerts has a fielding percentage of .989 and he has only made 2 errors this season. He truly has emerged as one of the best fielding shortstops in the game, which is hard to fathom considering he was moved to 3rd base only 2 short seasons ago. Bogaerts has very good range and makes all the plays. Sure, he won't make super flashy plays like Andrelton Simmons or Jose Iglesias, but he is still solid defensively nevertheless. His arm and range are both well above average and he is no longer a defensive liability on the field.
Bottom line: Xander Bogaerts is the best shortstop in the game and is having the best year of any shortstop. He deserves to start at shortstop for the American League in the All-Star Game. Let's make this happen Sox fans! #XforASG
Thoughts on the best shortstop in the game?
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Stats and photo via espn.com