No Gold Glove -- yet -- for promising Bogaerts
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Though Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts fell short this time around in his pursuit of a Rawlings Gold Glove Award, it's likely there will be some in his future.
At the age of 23, Bogaerts just completed his second full season in the Majors. He lost out to Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar for the AL Gold Glove, it was announced Tuesday.
"He played extremely well defensively, and [it was impressive] how much he improved from the year before," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "He worked last wintertime -- he went to a conditioning program in Arizona. He's doing the same thing this winter, too. He improved a great deal. He played very well from a defensive perspective, and I think the biggest thing is the strides he took from the year before for people that watched him. It was very noticeable."
From the first day of Spring Training in 2015, Red Sox coaches and players raved about how Bogaerts improved his quickness in the field. And as time evolved, it also became apparent how much more instinctual Bogaerts became at one of the key spots on the diamond.
Though Bogaerts had 196 hits, his offense was not the element that pleased him most about his second full season in the Majors.
"Honestly, defense," Bogaerts said recently. "I always knew I had good hands, but just making all those plays, sometimes I'm like, 'Wow, you really came a long way. Definitely be proud of yourself.' Now I learned to throw the ball more accurately over there. I learned what my body needs to do, the right position I need to be in. That was the best thing for me, just kind of realizing and understanding what I needed to do to get into a good position."
In a disjointed 2014 season, Bogaerts started the season at short, then moved to third after the reacquisition of Stephen Drew, and then reclaimed shortstop for the final two months.
But the Red Sox have now made a full commitment to Bogaerts as their shortstop, and they hope he is there for many more years.
"I'll just try to stay the same, make sure I'm fundamentally sound, especially defensively," said Bogaerts. "Later on in the season, my feet just got tired. I could feel myself during practice not using them anymore, but you have to grind it out, and just make sure I kept doing what I'd been doing. I think I have a pretty good idea about what I'm doing, especially on defense right now."
Bogaerts played 156 games at shortstop, making 11 errors in 676 total chances. His range factor per game was 4.26, compared to 2.30 in 2014.