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Xander Bogaerts Rankings Debate - Comparing RotoBaller's Rankers

We continue our long-running series of articles debating fantasy rankings with a player who was widely selected in the second or third round last year, but endured a disappointing 2017 campaign.

RotoBaller's expert writers have come up with our consensus rankings for mixed leagues, but that doesn't mean we agreed on everything. In this space, we'll hear from rankers with the biggest differences of opinion on a well-known player and have them defend their position against each other.

Today, the topic is Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Kyle Bishop believes he can recapture his 2016 form, while Harris Yudin is concerned that his plate discipline will prevent that from happening.

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2018 Draft Rankings Debate - Xander Bogaerts

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Pierre Jeff Harris Bill
 65  6 Xander Bogaerts SS 52 58 63 76 90 61


Kyle Bishop's Ranking: #52 overall

Coming off a legitimately great season in 2016 (.294-21-115-89-13), it's understandable that fantasy owners were disappointed by Xander Bogaerts' performance a year ago. He only managed 10 home runs in a season where approximately everyone cracked 20, his batting average dropped by 20 points, and his run production suffered.

What happened? Did the 25-year-old suddenly forget how to hit? Unlikely. He swung a bit less than he had in prior seasons, but otherwise his plate discipline and batted ball data didn't change much. I see no reason he can't regain at least a little of the batting average he lost a year ago. As for the run production, the Red Sox offense should benefit from a full season of Rafael Devers, as well as free agent import J.D. Martinez. If they get any sort of bounce-back from Hanley Ramirez or Jackie Bradley Jr., even better.

It's worth pointing out that even in a season that was universally considered to be disappointing, Bogaerts reached double digits in both homers and stolen bases, while scoring 94 runs and hitting 20 points above the league average. His 62 RBI weren't anything to write home about, sure, but he didn't kill you anywhere - and there's a cogent argument to be made that 2017 represented the young star's floor.

Perhaps Bogaerts won't rebound to the lofty heights he reached in 2016. Fortunately for purposes of this debate, he doesn't need to do that to make Harris'  ranking look foolish. If he more or less settles in the middle of his previous two performances - which is essentially what the projection systems expect to happen - he'll easily earn a profit on his modest ADP of 84.


Harris' Ranking: #90 overall

Xander Bogaerts is coming off a down year, and yes, he may very well bounce back in 2018. But can he bounce back to being a top-50 player? Doubtful.

He swings more than the average player at pitches out of the zone, and less than average on those in the zone. His 41.9 percent swing rate is well below average, but his 8.8 percent walk rate is nothing to write home about. His 2017 home run total (10, 7.2 HR/FB) is probably more indicative of future production than is his 2016 total (21, 11.4 HR/FB) given his career batted ball profile. And unless he hits well over .300 -- which he’s only done once in four years despite posting a solid BABIP in each of the last three seasons -- his rate stats won’t make up for the moderate power and speed.

Kyle claims that the addition J.D. Martinez and a full year of Rafael Devers will help Bogaerts’ run production. But the 25-year-old shortstop was bumped down to the sixth spot in the Red Sox’s lineup last year due to poor performance, so those additions are likely to keep Bogaerts away from the top of the order. As a result, his run and RBI totals are unlikely to revert back to where they were in 2016 (115 R, 89 RBI).

Lastly, let’s compare Bogaerts to some of the infielders Kyle has ranked behind him.

They all blow him out of the water in terms of 2017 production, and from the same position, Elvis Andrus outproduced Bogaerts in all five categories.

Bogaerts is still a reliable fantasy contributor and is worthy of a selection in the first 100 spots, but spending a fifth-round pick on a guy this unassuming is incredibly risky.


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