Report: Red Sox and X close on contract extension

chrisfont9

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Turning the focus back to X, this extension is a very pleasant surprise. As a Boras client, I feared that X would test the market and that his decision would drag on and on and on (a la Harper/Machado).

Per the article linked below:

"Once Sale signed, Dombrowski didn’t think the club would be able to extend itself enough to get Bogaerts signed before free agency started in November.

As it turns out, Bogaerts was motivated enough to stay with the Red Sox that a deal was able to be consummated.

“I was not by any means thinking it was going to happen,” Dombrowski said. “Today, when I was recollecting, I was riding with [assistant general manager] Eddie [Romero] to the ballpark, I said, ‘When we had the Chris Sale press conference, I did not think we were going to get this deal done.’ We wanted him the whole time. But I would say very strongly it was Bogey’s desire to be here.”

Driving force for Bogaerts' deal was the Sox SS

Kudos to X for making this happen!
It's a gift to the team, for sure. Anytime you can get this level of player for a good chunk less than he's worth, AND you have nothing but terrible alternatives, that's huge. Perhaps even bigger is the sense that there's a 1996-2000whatever Yankee thing happening where a group of really talented players come up together and want to stay together rather than going to play with a team that doesn't have the same bonds. Obviously athletes typically chase the top dollar, and it's understandable, but at some point you'd have to imagine that they have so much money already that they can start prioritizing the quality of their experience. Clearly on a personal level that's an advantage to the Sox here with Bogaerts and his "classmates". With the history and the intensity of playing for the Sox, they were already a unique place even viewed objectively. Maybe Betts still walks but I suspect the Sox just have to match the top offer and he stays.
 

Maximus

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Very glad X wanted to be here and is extended. Happy to have him here long term in a key up the middle position for many years to come.
 

DirtyWater90

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This is kinda what happened with Beckett.

He had an odd-year Beckett year and we signed him to an extension and then he came back and was even-year Beckett and the deal worked out great (until the end).
Are we really comparing Sale to Josh Beckett? Sale has literally never not been great in his entire career. Beckett had entire seasons of suck, and he had plenty of his own injury concerns. Maybe Sale is about to fall off a cliff, but there's really nothing to suggest that's even remotely likely.
 

teddywingman

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A couple of years ago people were willing to drive him to the airport (not me). What a difference one excellent year makes.
I don't remember it like that. But I was firmly among those who thought he should be at third, that he'd never be good at short, and the team was making a mistake.
So it's not just the one excellent year, it's also that his defense has become rather impressive.
 

brandonchristensen

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Are we really comparing Sale to Josh Beckett? Sale has literally never not been great in his entire career. Beckett had entire seasons of suck, and he had plenty of his own injury concerns. Maybe Sale is about to fall off a cliff, but there's really nothing to suggest that's even remotely likely.
No, I'm comparing the situation where they signed him to an extension when we weren't sure what his future held. With Beckett it was off a down year, with Sale it was off a year with health concerns. We gave them a deal hoping for the best essentially. It worked great with Beckett, and hopefully it works as well with Sale.
 

DirtyWater90

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No, I'm comparing the situation where they signed him to an extension when we weren't sure what his future held. With Beckett it was off a down year, with Sale it was off a year with health concerns. We gave them a deal hoping for the best essentially. It worked great with Beckett, and hopefully it works as well with Sale.
How was last year an off year for Sale? Literally had career bests across the board in WAR, K/9, WHIP, ERA, etc. Yes, an injury riddled second half but 2018 Chris Sale was as good as he has ever been (which was much better than Beckett ever was by the way).
 

brandonchristensen

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How was last year an off year for Sale? Literally had career bests across the board in WAR, K/9, WHIP, ERA, etc. Yes, an injury riddled second half but 2018 Chris Sale was as good as he has ever been (which was much better than Beckett ever was by the way).
I didn't say it was an off-year. But it was a year in which he had a mysterious ailment keep him from pitching for a large chunk of the season, and when he came back he was not throwing nearly as hard as he had been.

There was cause for concern. I don't think that that's a crazy thought to have. Considering tonight he was averaging 91 (despite great results), something is going on with his arm.

Not trying to argue here, just making a light comparison between two situations that I felt were somewhat comparable.
 

DirtyWater90

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Things that are speculation shouldn't be stated as facts.
Yeah, that something that is going on is Cora has told him to dial it the fuck back. Now if Sale kept getting lit up with this dialed back fastball, there'd be questions about the strategy for sure, but he showed tonight he can pitch with that as long as he locates. You should look up Pitching Ninja's tweets on Sale from last night - he showed Sale from 2017 and Sale from last night - there is such a stark difference in how he's finishing his delivery. 2017 Sale was finishing violently, last night it looked like he was just lobbing the ball up there playing catch. It looks pretty clearly deliberate to me.
 

DirtyWater90

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Speculation vs. Facts. Again.

Unless that "looks deliberate to me" means you have specialized training?
What seems more plausible to you: that Sale is intentionally reigning in the velocity (and his mechanics are still a work in progress given his limited spring training) in the hopes that it gives him greater longevity or that he still has an injury that numerous MRI’s and a complete physical (one more invasive than the normal one) couldn’t pick up?
 

crow216

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What seems more plausible to you: that Sale is intentionally reigning in the velocity (and his mechanics are still a work in progress given his limited spring training) in the hopes that it gives him greater longevity or that he still has an injury that numerous MRI’s and a complete physical (one more invasive than the normal one) couldn’t pick up?
Why do people think the extension means the team would have caught a potential injury? The Yankees extended Severino and Hicks who both went down immediately after. Are we saying they didn’t do physicals and tests beforehand?
 

uncannymanny

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It’s weird that people are arguing this when the team is literally saying they are building him up.

“You guys want him to pitch the whole year, or do you want him to go out and throw 100 right now and not be there for his team? He’s building,” said pitching coach Dana LeVangie. “He had a long year last year. He’s building up to be the guy he wants to be. He started last year similar. We’re getting to that point, but just not right now.”
 

donutogre

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Why do people think the extension means the team would have caught a potential injury? The Yankees extended Severino and Hicks who both went down immediately after. Are we saying they didn’t do physicals and tests beforehand?
I think it's more that people are saying he was likely healthy at the beginning of the year, not "hiding an injury" or whatever. Sure, he could have gotten hurt prior to last night's start, but assuming that's not the case we're just assuming that the Sox physical before his extension came up clean. Despite the low velocity, it's not an unreasonable assumption.
 

Al Zarilla

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I don't remember it like that. But I was firmly among those who thought he should be at third, that he'd never be good at short, and the team was making a mistake.
So it's not just the one excellent year, it's also that his defense has become rather impressive.
Too much work to go back and find posts, but all those low and away sliders he flailed away at, striking out on many of them, didn’t endear him at all around here. Maybe it was mostly gamethread angst though. Hopefully, he is what they thought he was when the Sox signed him as a teenager. For good.
 

Reverend

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It’s weird that people are arguing this when the team is literally saying they are building him up.
That's just what they want us to think!

Which would make sense, since that's what they're saying. :)

It's kinda funny how much the fans are struggling with this new era of ingenuous communication across and from the organization. We've been raised on lies, excuses, and intrigue, but I guess it doesn't make sense to blame long time Red Sox fans for being cynical, eh?
 

Lose Remerswaal

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What seems more plausible to you: that Sale is intentionally reigning in the velocity (and his mechanics are still a work in progress given his limited spring training) in the hopes that it gives him greater longevity or that he still has an injury that numerous MRI’s and a complete physical (one more invasive than the normal one) couldn’t pick up?
I will take option 1.

Unless you have FACTS or are trained to notice option 2

He could be this century's Frank Viola!
 

OCD SS

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I think it's more that people are saying he was likely healthy at the beginning of the year, not "hiding an injury" or whatever. Sure, he could have gotten hurt prior to last night's start, but assuming that's not the case we're just assuming that the Sox physical before his extension came up clean. Despite the low velocity, it's not an unreasonable assumption.
The setting: Chris Sale sits in the office of the Red Sox team doctor.

Doctor (looks at MRIs of Chris Sale's shoulder): "Your results look like you've been pitching in pro baseball for 9 years..."

Chris Sale (shrugs shoulders).

Doctor (shrugs shoulders): "Good enough for me, I guess. You passed your physical."

Exeunt.
 

brandonchristensen

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The setting: Chris Sale sits in the office of the Red Sox team doctor.

Doctor (looks at MRIs of Chris Sale's shoulder): "Your results look like you've been pitching in pro baseball for 9 years..."

Chris Sale (shrugs shoulders).

Doctor (shrugs shoulders): "Good enough for me, I guess. You passed your physical."

Exeunt.
“Chris your shoulder looks like, to speak in medical terms, leftover lasagna.”

“Look doc, I can give you five hundred thousand reasons to say it looks good.”

*they laugh in unison*

“You mean money right?”
 

Salem's Lot

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“Chris your shoulder looks like, to speak in medical terms, leftover lasagna.”

“Look doc, I can give you five hundred thousand reasons to say it looks good.”

*they laugh in unison*

“You mean money right?”
So not we’ve gotten to the point where not only is the medical staff incompetent, but they’re corrupt as well? I highly doubt it.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Did Xander get injured? I just saw that he was replaced by Holt at SS... any word on what that was about? I rarely follow game threads
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Did Xander get injured? I just saw that he was replaced by Holt at SS... any word on what that was about? I rarely follow game threads
Bogaerts is starting according to the lineup all the beat guys are reporting. There apparently was a delay in posting the lineup because Cora wanted to verify Bogaerts was good to go, but he is in fact good to go.
 

BaseballJones

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Bogaerts is starting according to the lineup all the beat guys are reporting. There apparently was a delay in posting the lineup because Cora wanted to verify Bogaerts was good to go, but he is in fact good to go.
How did Vegas feel about the delay in posting the lineup?
 

chrisfont9

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Watching Bogaerts hit an absolute bomb today, after yesterday's key hits (or "hits," in one case) made me think it was worth an update on how he's responding to signing his extension. Right now his OPS (.853) and OPS+ (125) are down slightly from last year's numbers, yet his WAR, both offensive and defensive, are up and he's projected by in-season updated STEAMER to land on 5.3 wins this year, 8th best in the AL, slightly ahead of Carlos Correa (among others). The explanation appears to lie in reduced strikeouts and increased walks, making up for a pretty marginal dropoff in slugging that might disappear once the weather warms up. No BABIP change, nothing else really in flux.

That's pretty great, right? Guy gets an extension, and immediately profiles as a still-evolving and already-very-good player, with some flashes of power that really make you wonder what his ceiling is. Ten years from now it might be Bogaerts, not Betts (contract tbd), who stands out as the player who defines this era of the Sox. Two rings already, great numbers, very reasonable long-ish contract, and seems universally liked inside the team. It's a bit like when Rice and Lynn were all the rage for about 6-7 years but after another decade you'd probably pick Dewey as the top Sox player from the 1975-86 era, entire Sox career considering.
 

bosox79

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After today's game, he's at .285/.380/.500. Last year was .288/.360/.522. His OPS is .002 lower, his OPS+ is probably higher.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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A little past the 1/4 pole, he's on a pace for:

45 doubles
27 homers
117 runs scored
107 RBI
93 walks

It's so nice, as chrisfont9 said, to be able to say that a guy who just signed a big contract is earning the money and then some. We tend to focus on the opposite cases, understandably, but this is sweet.
 

chrisfont9

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After today's game, he's at .285/.380/.500. Last year was .288/.360/.522. His OPS is .002 lower, his OPS+ is probably higher.
Hm, I guess bRef only updates at the end of the day then...

The only other blip is his go/ao is down, which means he's hitting the ball in the air more. 0.2 difference (or so) from his career numbers may not be meaningful, just another temporary blip. I don't recall him changing his swing or anything. Just incremental improvement.
 

bigq

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Joon Lee has a good article about Xander on ESPN today which is timely given his game winning HR last night.

 

joe dokes

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Joon Lee has a good article about Xander on ESPN today which is timely given his game winning HR last night.

Interesting read. He's glad to have the contract for permanently life-altering money done and thinks its benefitting his performance. Once again demonstrating that everyone is wired differently and that fans' attempts to guess at players' monetary motivations (and their relationship with agents) is a fool's errand.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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As of today X is fourth in all of baseball in fWAR, behind Bellinger, Trout, and Yelich. Leads all shortstops in fWAR, OBP and RBI. Leads AL SS in homers, doubles, runs, and is third in average. So happy to have him locked up
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It's absurd. You could sorta kinda make a case for putting Polanco ahead of him, and Correa and Lindor at least have established reputations as equal-or-better shortstops to Xander, even if they clearly haven't been quite as good this year. But Anderson? Torres?
Are we really trying to apply logic to a popularity contest? X is 6th in voting because the other five guys have better GOTV campaigns being run on their behalf.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Are we really trying to apply logic to a popularity contest? X is 6th in voting because the other five guys have better GOTV campaigns being run on their behalf.
Guilty as charged. And I'll admit that I sometimes vote for Sox players when I think they're having a great year and deserve recognition, even though I know somebody else is better. So I suppose I'm a hypocrite for complaining that other teams' fans do it.

In this, as in other, more consequential sorts of popularity contests, we need ranked-choice voting.
 

effectivelywild

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I think Xander also suffers a little bit in terms of narrative. He kind of burst on the scene as this clutch young guy who hit well through the postseason. 2014, pretty meh---what you expect from a guy just really joining the big leagues, split between 3rd and SS. 2015 and 2016---so-so. Pretty good, but not amazing production from a SS. 2017---back to meh. 2018 was when he took a step forward but its also hard to really have a good story about him on a team that had the MVP and Martinez threatening for the triple crown. Its hard to drum a big story on a guy who was the third most valuable position player (0.5 WAR above Benintendi). Yes, he was somewhat better---but not at some crazy jump. Now' he's looking even better this year, but take a look at how he's doing it. He's bumped up his BB%, and he's on pace for more double and HR but there's nothing that just jumps out. He has been a good-to-very good player and he has improved somewhat. His power definitely expanded, but in 2016 he hit almost as many HR (21) as last year (23)---even though his iso jumped by over 50%. It's hard for a SS who does many things very well and plays average-to-good defense to really stand out in a story perspective. He's kinda like Anthony Rendon in this respect in which his actual production really outweighs his rep.
Guilty as charged. And I'll admit that I sometimes vote for Sox players when I think they're having a great year and deserve recognition, even though I know somebody else is better. So I suppose I'm a hypocrite for complaining that other teams' fans do it.

In this, as in other, more consequential sorts of popularity contests, we need ranked-choice voting.
 
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Orel Miraculous

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Xander's career so far demonstrates two of the principal factors that, according to Bill James, lead to a player being underrated:

(1) He does many things well, instead of a few things really well. He has power but has never broken the 30HR mark. He gets on base and hits for average but has never approached a .400 OBP, and has only hit .300 once. He's a good defender but not a wizard, an outstanding athlete but not a base-stealer. In fact, he's never actually lead the league in anything (though he's currently first in doubles).

(2) He was something of a late-bloomer, and one whose game and skills are much different today than they were when people's first impressions were formed (his still young age and excellent play in the 2013 postseason notwithstanding).

Interestingly enough, when James worked out his theory of what makes a player underrated, he used Dwight Evans as the test case. When someone above said that Xander may become this generation's Evans - the guy who actually had the best Sox career despite always being overshadowed by flashier teammates - they might've been right on the money. On the other hand, if Xander's second half is as good as his first he'll be a legitimate MVP candidate and may finally break through and be considered a star.
 

tims4wins

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Xander's career so far demonstrates two of the principal factors that, according to Bill James, lead to a player being underrated:

(1) He does many things well, instead of a few things really well. He has power but has never broken the 30HR mark. He gets on base and hits for average but has never approached a .400 OBP, and has only hit .300 once. He's a good defender but not a wizard, an outstanding athlete but not a base-stealer. In fact, he's never actually lead the league in anything (though he's currently first in doubles).

(2) He was something of a late-bloomer, and one whose game and skills are much different today than they were when people's first impressions were formed (his still young age and excellent play in the 2013 postseason notwithstanding).

Interestingly enough, when James worked out his theory of what makes a player underrated, he used Dwight Evans as the test case. When someone above said that Xander may become this generation's Evans - the guy who actually had the best Sox career despite always being overshadowed by flashier teammates - they might've been right on the money. On the other hand, if Xander's second half is as good as his first he'll be a legitimate MVP candidate and may finally break through and be considered a star.
You had me until late bloomer. He put up a 107 OPS+ in a full season at age 22, then a 111 at age 23. At shortstop. Through his age 25 season he has more than 500 more hits than Wade Boggs.

Your first point about doing many things well reminded me of Craig Biggio.
 
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reggiecleveland

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Evans should have been the 81 MVP, the split season, strike, Fingers era being under 1 run most of the year, etc cost him.

FWIW (not much) I played historical OOTP to try and see what you could do with the actual Sox franchise, and with a crystal ball you trade Rice and Lynn around 1979 and keep Evans.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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You had me until late bloomer. He put up a 107 OPS+ in a full season at age 22, then a 11 at age 23. At shortstop. Through his age 25 season he has more than 500 more hits than Wade Boggs.

Your first point about doing many things well reminded me of Craig Biggio.
I bumped on late bloomer too. Xander only feels like a "late bloomer" because he debuted at 20. He's just entering his prime years. And were it not for an injury hampered 2017, his rise would be more obviously a steady improvement rather than the perception that it's been sudden.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
(2) He was something of a late-bloomer, and one whose game and skills are much different today than they were when people's first impressions were formed (his still young age and excellent play in the 2013 postseason notwithstanding).
It's kind of a measure of how young he and Mookie were when they hit the bigs that we can think of him as a late bloomer even though he will have accumulated over 20 WAR (by both metrics, barring a serious injury or downturn in the 2nd half) before turning 27.

With any luck, he'll finish this year with >100 career HR (he needs 12 more) and >200 doubles (already there). The only shortstops in baseball history to hit both those marks by their age-26 season are Ripken and A-Rod. Robin Yount came close (96 HR).
 

tims4wins

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Among players 26 or younger only Machado and Harper have more hits. He should reach 1000 hits by the end of this year. When all is said and done he has a great chance of ending up in the top 100 all time in hits.
 

Al Zarilla

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I think Xander also suffers a little bit in terms of narrative. He kind of burst on the scene as this clutch young guy who hit well through the postseason. 2014, pretty meh---what you expect from a guy just really joining the big leagues, split between 3rd and SS. 2015 and 2016---so-so. Pretty good, but not amazing production from a SS. 2017---back to meh. 2018 was when he took a step forward but its also hard to really have a good story about him on a team that had the MVP and Martinez threatening for the triple crown. Its hard to drum a big story on a guy who was the third most valuable position player (0.5 WAR above Benintendi). Yes, he was somewhat better---but not at some crazy jump. Now' he's looking even better this year, but take a look at how he's doing it. He's bumped up his BB%, and he's on pace for more double and HR but there's nothing that just jumps out. He has been a good-to-very good player and he has improved somewhat. His power definitely expanded, but in 2016 he hit almost as many HR (21) as last year (23)---even though his iso jumped by over 50%. It's hard for a SS who does many things very well and plays average-to-good defense to really stand out in a story perspective. He's kinda like Anthony Rendon in this respect in which his actual production really outweighs his rep.


Anthony Rendon
For all of your hidden in the shadows stuff, X has been there before, starting at shortstop in the 2016 all star game.
 

reggiecleveland

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With any luck, he'll finish this year with >100 career HR (he needs 12 more) and >200 doubles (already there). The only shortstops in baseball history to hit both those marks by their age-26 season are Ripken and A-Rod. Robin Yount came close (96 HR).
Speaking of Brewers that did not deserve their MVP awards.
 

Orel Miraculous

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You had me until late bloomer. He put up a 107 OPS+ in a full season at age 22, then a 111 at age 23. At shortstop. Through his age 25 season he has more than 500 more hits than Wade Boggs.

Your first point about doing many things well reminded me of Craig Biggio.
Of course he's young, but that doesn't mean he's still not a late-bloomer. James' point about being a late-bloomer isn't about age, but about how difficult it is to overcome an first impression and, in Xander's case, it applies.

He put up a 107 OPS+ at age 22, but he did that as a slap-hitting shortstop who didn't walk and didn't hit for power (and then had just a 95 OPS+ two years later). If he had remained that player, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

It took him 4 full seasons to reach his potential and, when he did so, he did it as a much different player - not just a better player, but a different one.

In 2015, he didn't even attempt to hit for power - his 2014 season obviously scared him so much that he traded line-drives for dinks to right field. It was an approach that lead to a lot of hits and the highest batting average of his career, but it was largely empty production.

Now, he's finally the guy he was supposed to be as a prospect: a power-hitting shortstop who sprays liners all over the field. He completely changed his offensive profile, and it took him 5 years to do so (though, admittedly, the 2017 injury is one of the main reasons why it took that long).
 
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