By CBSBoston.com Staff

By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Is Xander Bogaerts the best shortstop in baseball? He’s certainly making the case for that title a month into the 2021 season.

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Bogaerts had another big game in the heart of Boston’s order during Tuesday night’s 11-7 win over the Detroit Tigers, going 2-for-5 at the plate with a two-run homer in the second inning. The four-bagger was absolutely tattooed, as Bogaerts hit a laser shot off a 1-1 fastball from Detroit reliever Alex Lange, giving the Red Sox an 8-2 lead at the time.

It’s a good thing the Red Sox got a new shopping cart for those post-homer rides in the dugout, because Bogaerts (and the rest of the team for that matter) wore out the old one. Tuesday night’s blast was the third home run off Bogaerts’ bat in the last four games, and his sixth in the last 13 contests.

That 1-for-12 slump to start the season is but a distant memory for Bogaerts; he’s hit .384 (38-for-99) in his 25 games since, sporting an incredible 1.086 OPS in that span.

So is Bogaerts the best shortstop in the game? There is a strong argument for his case at the dish. Chicago’s Javier Baez and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. each have eight homers in the NL, but among AL shortstops, only Toronto’s Bo Bichette has more homers than Bogaerts with seven.

But Bichette is only hitting .257 — not the robust .351 that Bogaerts has next to his name. Baez is hitting .245 while Tatis Jr. is currently hitting at a .225 clip.

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Bogaerts’ .351 is the best among all shortstops. So is his .385 OBP. And his .604 slugging percentage. And his .988 OPS. Xander also leads all major league shortstops with 10 doubles so far this season, giving him the most extra base hits for the position.

So while others have power, they don’t have the average. Bogaerts has both — and he also has a pretty slick glove in the field as well, which was on display in the first inning Tuesday night.

X is just an all-around stud for the Red Sox, but Boston has known that for a while. Most of MLB has known that for a while.

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He’s not the shortstop with the most pop in his bat, or the most feared shortstop when he steps to the plate. But when it comes to the complete picture, Bogaerts can lay claim to being the best overall shortstop in the game to start the 2021 season.

CBSBoston.com Staff