After an offensive dive last season, 2018 is primed to be they breakout year we’ve all been waiting for when it comes to Xander Bogaerts.

After a season in which he suffered a hand injury, Bogaerts’s numbers hurt as well. In 2017, Xander hit .273 with 10 homers and 62 RBIs. Those numbers are surprisingly low following his amazing 2016 season, when he hit 21 homers and 89 RBIs to go along with a .294 batting average. With new manager Alex Cora in the mix, Xander Bogaerts is primed to have a career year.

Although spring training to me doesn’t evaluate much besides the prospects, X man is showing signs of prosperity. The starting shortstop is locating the pitches and shows flashes of the power that got his signed when he was 16. The Aruba native will only make $7,500,000 this season, and will become an unrestricted free agent after 2019. With super agent Scott Boras handling negotiations, odds are there will be no talks of an extension anytime soon.

Over the years his defense has improved. It can only get better from here. While being able to cover most of the left side of the field, he covers the middle as well. Compared to shortstops such as Correa, Lindor, and Simmons, Bogaerts is the cheaper option. What he makes up for in savings won’t deteriorate his value. He can slap the ball anywhere on the field with great precision.

While he could easily command a six year, $125 million deal, the potential is there with room for improvement. No fan of the sport has seen his ceiling. This could be the year he stays consistent throughout the entirety of the season.

Stat line Prediction for 2018:  

.313 BA, 26 home runs, 97 RBIs 

This prediction relies heavily on his health and consistency. These numbers could be achievable with having a clubhouse factor such as David Ortiz popping in as a player consultant this season. With all eyes pointed on New York, look out for Boston to defend their AL East crown?

View the original article on Red Sox Extra: 2018: The Year of Bogaerts