MLB: The most valued shortstops of 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Boston Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) turns a double play in the eighth inning during the game between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies on September 15, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Boston Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) turns a double play in the eighth inning during the game between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies on September 15, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Xander Bogaerts, Boston shortstop. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
Xander Bogaerts, Boston shortstop. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) /

4. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $6.593 million value; $12 million salary

The Red Sox have made a heavy commitment to Bogaerts. They’re on the hook to him to the tune of $20 million annually through at least 2025.

Bogaerts has been a solid performer, but no MLB shortstop made more than $15.25 million in 2019. To justify the kind of money he’ll be paid, the Red Sox need Bogaerts to be more than good; they need him to be transformational.

They’re banking on a player who delivered a .309 batting average in 2019 with 33 home runs and 117 RBIs … that’s star-level performance. His support numbers were equally strong, resulting in a 5.2 WAR that was the position’s fourth best.

But at shortstop, with its heavy emphasis on defense, that still only produced $3.525 million in value. A shortstop who can swing the bat is great, but one who can field the ball is essential.

At that skill, Bogaerts has yet to justify his team’s faith in him. His .975 fielding average – pretty much normal for him from a career standpoint – ranks just 15th at the position and adds just $987,000 to his value.

Nor is it a case of his errors forced by his ability to get to a lot of balls. Bogaerts accepted just 3.37 chances per nine innings in 2019, ranking dead last among qualifiers and valuing out to a paltry $849,000.

He did play 1,368 innings, nearly 300 more than the positional average, so he gets showing-up credit. In his case, that amounts to $1.231 million, and finalizes a $6.594 million value that ranks fourth at the position.