It's the fantasy baseball draft season. To us baseball nerds, few things are more exciting than arguing about player rankings. Today, we'll discuss and compare Xander Bogaerts' RotoBaller staff rankings. He was ranked No. 15 overall by Jeff Kahntroff, and No. 31 by Nick Mariano.
Throughout this series, we'll be using our February Staff Rankings to debate where to draft certain players. In cases where our writers had discrepancies, we've asked them to explain their rankings. These debates will provide us with some well-rounded analysis, and help identify undervalued/overvalued draft picks.
Editor's note: Check out our previous rankings debates on Jose Ramirez, Trea Turner, J.D Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Jose Abreu, Bryce Harper, Carlos Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, Jonathan Villar, Kenta Maeda, Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Marcus Stroman and Jackie Bradley Jr..
2017 Draft Rankings Debate: Xander Bogaerts
Jeff Kahntroff's Rankings Analysis
His Overall Ranking: 15
Xander Bogaerts will be 24 years old until the very end of next season. At 22 and 23 he posted lines of .320/7/84/81/10 and .294/21/115/89/13. His power still has room for growth as he hit 34 doubles last year. Because Nick and I both have Bogaerts behind Machado and ahead of Villar, but diverge on where he ranks relative to Seager and Correa, this piece will focus on the latter comparisons. Whereas I have Bogaerts (15, $34) slightly ahead of Correa (23, $31) and Seager (24, $31), Nick has Seager (16, $34) and Correa (20, $30) as much more valuable assets than Bogaerts (31, $26). Do their track records and projections justify such a large disparity? Let’s take a look:
|Player (Age)||2015||2016||2017 Steamer|
|Xander Bogaerts (24)||.320/7/84/81/10||.294/21/115/89/13||.296/17/82/78/9|
|Corey Seager (23)||.337/4/17/17/2 (27 Gs)||.308/26/105/72/3||.286/23/88/79/4|
|Carlos Correa (22)||.279/22/52/68/14||.274/20/76/96/13||.278/22/84/87/14|
They strike me as similar players. In 2016, Bogaerts outperformed Seager and Correa in run production (Runs + Runs Batted In) and power/speed (Homers + Steals). He was second in average. While Steamer believes the other two will surpass him in power and run production, Bogaerts has an upward trend in stolen bases and has stated his goal is to steal 20 bases this year. Given the dearth of stolen bases, that is an important factor.
Bogaerts also has improving power and consistently high average, to go with his significantly better 2016. All these factors put him ahead of the pack. However, the edge is not that large. Boston’s offense lost MLB’s leader in OPS, and Houston’s offense is gaining a full season of Bregman, Beltran, Reddick and McCann. Furthermore, Correa may have been hampered by his injuries, and Seager and Correa are both younger. Balancing these competing factors, these players may end up clustered even closer together in my final ranks, but I fail to see how Seager is 15 spots and $8 better than Bogaerts when factoring in risk and reward.
Nick Mariano's Rankings Analysis
His Overall Ranking: 31
I was one of the skeptical ones on Bogaerts heading into 2016, and I even lost a little side bet with a friend of mine when he topped 25 combined HRs and SBs. Okay, I probably should’ve fought for 30 as the line but even then I would’ve lost. I recognize now that his power and speed are more than respectable, but his second half slash line of .253/.317/.412 has me quite concerned. That’s not a little slump, that’s a certified problem and I need consistency this early.
If I believe Bogaerts’ rationale that he was trying to hit the ball to certain places before the pitch was even delivered instead of just being a hitter, then I suppose I’d have to buy back in at full strength. That makes it sound as though the problem is wholly identified and corrected, yes? And now he’s even saying he’s going to set a goal of 20 steals, which is apparently the new “best shape of his life” talk at Spring Training. He’ll need to do so to justify Jeff’s ranking of No. 15 overall. Higher than Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Joey Votto, Robinson Cano and Anthony Rizzo.
Let’s look at Bogie compared to Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and even Trevor Story. Do you want to know what the three latter names had in common last season? They were the top three in hard-hit rates among shortstops, all checking in above 37 percent with soft-contact rates between 12.7 percent and 16.3 percent. Guess where Bogaerts was? 16th place. His 30.6% hard-hit rate was nothing special, and his 20.5 percent soft-contact rate wasn’t glamorous either. Yeah, sure, he’s growing into some pop. That’s fine. I’ll take the guys who are already popping with their own ceilings to continue approaching.