Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Breaking down the #1 Bogaerts Comp

According to ZiPs this year not only is Xander Bogaerts projected to post nearly 3 wins above replacement, but they list Troy Tulowitzki as his number one comparison.  That is high praise, but something he's quickly getting used to.  The comparison is a bit difficult as Bogaerts has had much more time to mature playing for a team that didn't need to rush him through the minors.  Tulowitzki only had one season at Double-A before his call up to the majors.

Bogaerts and Bubble Gum (9568162390)

On the other hand Bogaerts never played a full season at Double-A splitting two partial seasons between 2012 and 2013.  Combined he played 79 games at the level, which we will try to compare to Tulowitzki's 104 games at the same level.  Let's start with plate discipline for the two:

Tulowitzki:

  • BB%: 9.5%
  • K%:   14.6%
Bogaerts:

  • BB%: 10%
  • K%:    20%
That higher rate of strikeouts is evident for Bogaerts, but he's made up for that by getting on base with a higher than normal BABIP.  Not something I would suggest is always going to save him and it's fallen to normal levels at Triple-A and during his time in the majors last season.  Hitting for a higher BABIP usually requires speed and power. Bogaerts has the power and could do the same, but it's going to be a bit tougher for Bogaerts to hit for a similar average and OBP.

Tulowitski: .291/.370/.473
Bogaerts: .326/.351/.598 and .311/.407/.502

With almost a dozen other teams Bogaerts would have made the jump to the majors after that run of numbers at Double-A much like Tulowitzki did with the Rockies.  Both had power and a threat to steal double digit bases.  Had hit near or above .300 with enough walks to be a solid on base player.  There isn't much to discourage the comparison other than the extra strikeouts for Bogaerts.

How much power Bogaerts will develop is still a question, but scouts see him in the same range as Tulowitzki at 30 homers per season.  There is also the question of his ability to play short stop for the long term as his body develops and fills out.  With Bogaerts currently 6' 3" and 185 pounds he's still looking at 30 pounds to gain before he even reaches Tulowitzki's weight.

The comparison to Tulowitzki seems a very good one and perhaps his first contract in 2008 should be something the Red Sox are thinking about for Bogaerts.  In 2008 after his first full season Tulowitzki signed a six year deal for $31M with a 2014 option.  The team got one year of free agency out of the deal and would carry the values for those years into his next deal.

It's been a long time since the Red Sox had a sure thing at short stop and the youth on the left side of the infield could play to their advantage financially and in their growth on the field.  If Bogaerts can continue to draw comparisons to someone like Tulowitzki the hype will be warranted.

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