Is Xander Bogaerts better than Nomar Garciaparra? That’s the question we’ll debate in today’s post. These two elite Red Sox shortstops are similar in many ways. Bogaerts entered Thursday Night’s Game vs. the Orioles as the leading hitter in the American League with a .357 average. He also was second in the AL in batting in 2015. This is all happening at age 23. Bogaerts is quickly becoming not only the best shortstop in Major League Baseball, but also one of it’s best overall players. There’s no doubt that Bogaerts is an All Star caliber player, but just how good is he? Is he the best hitter in baseball? That question is legitimate and you could certainly make the case for him right now. The same was true for Nomar Garciaparra in his peak years.
It’s probably too early to do a stats comparison considering that Bogaerts is just in his first full season. However, it should be noted that in Garciaparra’s third full season, he hit .357 and won the AL batting title. That’s the same average Bogaerts has this year. Garciaparra had much better power numbers than Bogaerts in his first two full seasons. He hit 30+ home runs in each of his first two seasons. Bogaerts’ career high is 12. However, Garciaparra was a rookie at age 23. Bogaerts is 23 right now and his power is starting to pick up. He’s on pace for over 20 home runs and 100 RBI this season. From a hitting standpoint, these two players have a lot in common.
How about defense? Well, Garciaparra made 21 and 25 errors in his first two full seasons. Bogaerts made 20 in his first season which was split at shortstop and third base. Remember that? The Red Sox didn’t think Xander could play the position! He then made a quick turnaround in 2015 and made just 11 errors in 156 games. He was a Gold Glove candidate! Nomar never was. Bogaerts already gets the edge on defense. He’s also a better base runner than Nomar.
Bogaerts certainly has a long way to go and his potential is through the roof. As of right now, he is a more complete all around player than Garciaparra was at age 23. The only category that Nomar gets the edge is with the power numbers. Can Bogaerts be a 25-35 home run hitter as Nomar was at one point in his career? The thought here is that it’s just a matter of time. It probably won’t be this year, but there’s a very strong possibility that we’re watching an annual MVP candidate who may even have Triple Crown potential. Bogaerts is just that good. There aren’t too many 23 year old players now or in the past who were finishing in the top two in batting in consecutive years. That’s a strong possibility this year.
At age 23, Xander Bogaerts is a better player than Nomar Garciaparra was. Nomar had a very strong career from ages 23-29. Then his production slipped drastically. Xander Bogaerts has the potential to be much more than that. We could be looking at a future Hall of Famer. Time will tell just how great he can me.
Jeter level is not out of the question.