Xander Bogaerts’ Clutch Hitting Slump Is A Batted Ball Fluke

There was a lot of baseball last night, and the usual frustration as both teams left a pile of runners stranded on the bases, but it ended well. With two on and none out, Grady Sizemore listened to his friend Billy Zane with a wall-ball single and the Sox walked off.

One of the frustrations of the night was Xander Bogaerts‘ worst hitting night as a Red Sox. He was 0-for-5, including a bases loaded, one out infield pop out that ended a third inning rally which could have locked up the game early. In the early going, Bogaerts has struggled terribly win men on base. In an excellent piece on WEEI.com, Joon Lee talked to Bogaerts and found a confident kid expecting to break out of his slump any day. As with the rest of the Red Sox, there is exceptionally little reason to think Bogaerts’ situational struggles are anything other than a sample size fluke. Check the table:

Situation BB% K% XBH% BAbip LD% IFFB%
Bases Empty 14.1% 23.1% 5.1% 0.457 25.0% 14.3%
Men On 12.2% 22.4% 8.2% 0.258 21.9% 6.3%
RISP 9.1% 21.2% 6.1% 0.174 16.7% 7.1%

Bogaerts has basically identical rates of strikeouts, walks and extra-base hits in all situations. He’s hitting a few more line drives with the bases empty, but it’s only a few percentage points difference. He’s actually hitting a higher rate of infield pop-ups with the bases empty. Almost all slumps end. Some slumps require a bit more explanation. This doesn’t look like one of them. In 130 PA, weird things can happen in batted ball splits. Bogaerts is exceptionally likely to bounce back, and quickly.