All-Star Shortstop Xander Bogaerts Heats Hobby

Xander Bogaerts entered the 2016 season as an emerging star. Three months into the season, he’s become baseball’s finest shortstop, arguably the game’s top hitter, and a viable American League MVP candidate. Being compared to big-time stars such as Mike Trout, Manny Machado, and Bryce Harper, Bogaerts has become a top star in the collectibles world as well.

The diversity of Bogaerts’ skills have been on full display since the start of the season. Spraying the ball to all fields, while also finding the gaps, Bogaerts has exploited defensive shifts by hitting to the open areas. The result has been a higher batting average and increased production — more hits with runners xanderon base while anchoring a potent Red Sox offense from the third spot in the lineup. Wade Boggs’ Red Sox single-season hit record (240) is well within his sights.

Taking baseball and the hobby by surprise, Bogaerts game-used memorabilia and certified autographed cards are few and far between for the time being. His limited 2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Red Framed Jersey card is a hot item selling for $12, while his popular 2015 Topps Career Highlights Game Used Jersey card sells for as much as $10. A 26-game hitting streak earlier in the season put Bogaerts in the national spotlight, increasing the the interest and value of his memorabilia cards.

Bogaerts has led the league in hits and batting for most of the season, while also placing among the league best in runs, RBI, doubles, and OPS. Most defensive metrics rank him among baseball’s best fielding shortstops. He also excels on the basepaths, stealing bases at opportune times while taking extra bases with regularity.

With an All-Star appearance in the offing, Bogaerts will be a focal point of many mid- and late-season baseball card releases. Expect to see a wide assortment of new Bogaerts game used and autographed cards in the coming months. For now, his 2012 Rize Prodigy Gold Autographed insert limited to a pr
oduction run of 100 is selling for $40

Just 23 years old, Bogaerts has become the best all-around shortstop to wear a Red Sox uniform since Nomar Garciaparra’s prime years of 1998-2000. Like Garciaparra rookie cards in the late ‘90s, Bogaerts’ earliest cards have become “must haves” for Red Sox collectors. His 2012 Bowman Chrome Rookie — a mere common card less than a year ago — is selling for $5. Limited autographed Bowman Chrome rookies are selling for $124, with “Blue Refractor” autographed versions limited to a production run of 50 approaching $1,000.

Impressed by his athletic ability and live bat, the Red Sox signed Bogaerts at the age of 17 out of his native Aruba for $410,000. As a teenager, Bogaerts represented the Netherlands in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, opening eyes with his play on the field and his maturity off the field. Bumped to third base to accommodate slick-fielding fellow countryman Andrelton Simmons, Bogaerts looked like a seasoned veteran, hitting .263 with a .364 on base percentage.

Off the field he impressed with advanced people skills and speaking fluently to reporters in four different languages (English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento). One of his rarest baseball cards is the 2013 Topps Tribute World Baseball Classic Game Worn Jersey, which is limited to a production run of 67 and is becoming increasingly popular, selling for $80. The Bogaerts base card from the WBC set can be had for $3.

With his baseball IQ on par with his on-the-field proficiency, Bogaerts looks to be a pillar in the Red Sox lineup for many years to come. An increasing international following will heighten the demand and value of his cards, so buy early and often. With David Ortiz in the twilight of his career, Bogaerts is quickly becoming the face of the Red Sox.

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