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How Xander Bogaerts became the Red Sox' unquestioned leader

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It's hard to believe Xander Bogaerts will celebrate his 30th birthday later this year. It seems not long ago that the skinny kid out of Aruba was making a name for himself in the minor leagues.

A decade later, Bogaerts has become the heart and soul of the Boston Red Sox. The veteran shortstop's talent speaks for itself, but his leadership in the clubhouse might be even more valuable to the team's success.

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"I don’t know if we have to put a 'C' on Xander’s jersey but everybody knows the consistency, the way he approaches the game, the ways he cares about winning, what he brings to the occasion, not only on the field but off the field," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said earlier this month.

"He’s the most consistent player and the most consistent person in our organization. Everybody knows he’s the one who takes career of people in that clubhouse, takes care of people on the field, takes care of the manager. Just putting that name in the lineup makes you feel comfortable we’re going to have a good player in the lineup on a daily basis. If you want to name him the captain without putting the 'C', you can go ahead and do it."

If you ask Bogaerts' teammates, they'll echo Cora's sentiments. Trevor Story, who signed with Boston this past offseason and shifted from shortstop to second base, raved about his new double-play partner.

 

“Just a special guy," he said, per NESN. "I think special teammate, someone that’s leading our team in like all categories. I’m happy to be on this team with him. He’s a special player, man, and he handles everything so gracefully. He’s a beast out there, so that always helps.”

When a player with Bogaerts' track record speaks, the rest of the team listens. The three-time All-Star has been a model of consistency since his big-league debut in 2013. He helped the Red Sox bring home a World Series title as a rookie and earned another championship ring in 2018.

Bogaerts also earned Silver Slugger awards in 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2021. So far in his 10-year career, he's slashing .292/.356/.460 with 147 homers and 641 RBI. He recently became Boston's all-time leader in games played at shortstop.

Perhaps the most impressive stat of them all, Bogaerts speaks four languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamento.

Red Sox fans shouldn't take Bogaerts for granted as there's a chance 2022 will be his final season with the organization. If the two sides can't agree on a contract extension before the end of the year, Bogaerts is expected to decline his player option and become an unrestricted free agent, leaving a significant void both on and off the field.

Learn more about Bogaerts in the video above, presented by VA.