In a season dominated by Big Papi’s farewell tour and All-Star caliber performances by a number of other Red Sox players, Xander Bogaerts is nearly midway through a season that could ultimately rank among the best in Sox history. Wanted to share a few nuggets that illuminate how special he has been.
–In his last 162 games, dating back to June 17, 2015, these are Bogie’s numbers: .340 batting average. .381 on-base pct. .465 slugging pct. He has 232 hits, 101 RBIs, 113 runs scored, 46 doubles, 13 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He has the highest batting average and most hits in the majors in that span.
–Bogie, as Red Sox crack publicist Justin Long has noted, had 100 hits in the team’s first 68 games. Ichiro Suzuki (103 hits) in 2007 and Matt Holliday (100 in 2007) also cracked the 100-hit mark in 68 games. The only player to do so in fewer games was Hall of Famer Tris Speaker, the Red Sox center-fielder who had 100 hits in the team’s first 64 games in 1912.
Tris Speaker (Illustration courtesy of Gary Cieradkowski, author of “The League of Outside Baseball”)
–Bogie is on pace for 234 hits. Only one player by age 23 had more: Hall of Famer Al Simmons had 253 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1925. Lloyd (Little Poison) Waner is second with 234.
–Seven players have had 220 or more hits through their age 23 season. Five of them are Hall of Famers. The others are Shoeless Joe Jackson, a Hall of Fame caliber player, and former NL batting champion Tommy Davis.
–Only 13 Sox players have had 200 or more hits in a season, 3 since 2000. Adrian Gonzalez led the AL with 213 hits in 2011, one more than Jacoby Ellsbury (212). Dustin Pedroia led the league with 213 hits in 2008, his MVP season. Wade Boggs did it seven times, his high-water mark coming in 1985, when he had 240 hits. Speaker is second on the all-time list with 222, in 1912.
–The last Sox player to lead the league in hits before Pedroia was Nomar Garciaparra, who had 209 hits in 1997. Nomar, like Bogie, was 23. Unlike Bogie, Nomar was a rookie.
Nomar Garciaparra led AL in hits in 1997, when he was 23 (Courtesy Boston Red Sox)
–Michael Young set the record for hits by a shortstop with 221 for Texas in 2005. That was two more than the 219 hits than Derek Jeter had with the Yankees in 1999. Jeter was 25 in 1999, one of eight seasons in which he had 200 hits or more.
–Only two Sox shortstops had 200 or more hits in a season: Garciaparra, and Johnny Pesky, who did it three times: 1942, ’46, and ’47.
–As I noted, we’re not yet at the halfway point in 2016. But if Bogie stays healthy, and can avoid a prolonged slump, he could etch his name all over the record books.