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Xander Bogaerts' All-Star Snub Isn't All That Important And Other Boston Sports Leftover Thoughts

BOSTON (CBS) -- Xander Bogaerts was not named to the initial AL All-Star roster. Given that he leads all AL shortstops in doubles, RBIs, OPS and WAR, this is very likely an injustice.

However, it does not matter. Not in the least.

Sure, the 22-year-old deserves to be there, no doubt. But if you're particularly sore about this subject, consider where the kid was one year ago at this time.

Through July 7, 2014, Bogaerts was hitting .239 with a .316 OBP and .675 OPS. Through July 7, 2015, he's hitting .304 with a .341 OBP and .759 OPS.

But worst of all, of course, Bogaerts had lost his position. In what will go down as one of the most confounding moves of Ben Cherington's tenure, the Red Sox had signed Stephen Drew in late May, and by June 2, he was the Red Sox' starting shortstop. Bogaerts got the boot over to third base.

Drew would relish this opportunity by hitting .176 before the Sox traded him to the Yankees, thereby allowing Bogaerts to move back over to short. But by then, his confidence was crushed, and he'd finish the year with a .240 batting average and .660 OPS. For a young player deemed to be the Red Sox shortstop of the future, it was as disappointing as disappointing gets.

But look how quickly he rebounded. He had luck on his side early in the year when seemingly every bloop off his bat found space to land, sometimes even resulting in bases-loaded triples.

And he rode that confidence to where he is now. The fact that he has blossomed into a more-than-capable defensive shortstop is just the icing on the cake.

So, sure, Bogaerts deserves to be in the All-Star Game, and realistically he'll probably get there. Whether that's through the final vote, or whether it's due to the inevitable player or two dropping out due to "injury" or other reason, it seems likely that Bogaerts will get his chance.

But even if he doesn't, that's quite all right in the big picture. The fact that he's in this position to be considered an All-Star snub is such a tremendous leap forward from last year that it's much less important whether he actually makes the team.

There's one thought from the realm of Boston sports. Here are a few more.

--Carter Capps. Bro. You're cheating.

I understand that a number of articles have been written about this delivery's legality, and that the Marlins contend it is legal.

But it's not. Sometimes you just need to use your brains.

--As it is, though, the guy served up the game-winning, bases-loaded/bases-clearing single while pitching that way, so play on.

--The Celtics got better on Tuesday when they swapped Gerald Wallace's preposterous contract for a player who will actually contribute on the floor in David Lee. For that, Dan Ainge deserves a nice pat on the back.

But the praise for Trader Danny needn't go too far in this case. The Warriors played Lee just 18 minutes per game during the regular season, and he got in just 13 of the Warriors' 21 playoff games, averaging 8 minutes per game. So Golden State couldn't justify that $15 million contract, and they also now have to pay future Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green some real cash. Given that salaries have to come close to matching in NBA trades, there were only a handful of teams who could both return a high contract to Golden State and absorb Lee's contract at the same time. The Celtics fit the bill, so the deal was done.

Again, good for Dan Ainge. But for the people who ran to Twitter to scream that the guy just took another GM to school with a grand bamboozlement, do relax, please and thank you.

--Remember the New England Patriots? They are the local football team here. They've essentially been out of the news cycle for two full weeks, which might be the longest stretch since last year's offseason furor over Pro Football Focus saying Tom Brady was not a top-five quarterback died down.

We're all just waiting on Roger now.

-- The Red Sox are technically alive, yes. But before you get too far ahead of yourself with visions of October baseballs dancing in your head, you still have to remember that four teams need to dung-up the bed in order for the Red Sox to have a window of opportunity to win the division. It's difficult to leapfrog one team in the standings. It's doubly difficult to leapfrog two teams. It requires a combination of both tremendous play and a heavy dose of good fortune to climb past three teams in the standings. To climb past four teams in the standings in just half a season, you need a once-in-a-generation miracle (see: 1967).

If you're only hoping for the wild card, the picture is not that much better. To climb into the second wild-card spot, you have to leapfrog Texas, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Toronto, Baltimore and Minnesota. That's six teams, in case counting is not your strong suit.

Such a climb is not impossible ... but I wouldn't want to stake my life savings on it. Hell, I wouldn't really want to put my lunch money on the line, to be honest.

--I've written a bit longer about the Bruins already since Don Sweeney salvaged the offseason, but I'll add this: I'll be stunned if they aren't a playoff team next year. They may not be complete enough to truly contend for a Cup, and their defensive corps is still thin, old and worrisome. But they should be a better team, and for a GM with a long-term plan, that is the first necessary step toward going down the intended road.

--I'm not the first person to express doubts about the Red Sox' front office talent evaluation, but the John Lackey trade has been at the forefront of my mind recently. I understand that Lackey might have really wanted out last year, and maybe he would have raised a major stink about playing for the veteran minimum in Boston this year. Maybe they had to trade him. But look at the return. Joe Kelly and Allen Craig are in Triple-A right now, and neither is exactly tearing it up (Kelly has been OK through two starts, but Craig is batting .262 with a .738 OPS).

If the Red Sox had John Lackey (7-5, 3.09 ERA) instead of those two, aren't the Red Sox at least three wins better right now? And aren't they therefore right in the thick of the AL East race?

And it's not just the Lackey return. Look at Rusney Castillo. They literally gave that man a Scrooge McDuck room of gold coins, and he simply does not look like a big league ball player (he has nine extra-base hits in 114 ABs at Triple-A and just two extra-base hits in 74 major league at-bats). It's very, very early for Yoan Moncada, but the Sox paid big bucks to outbid the Yankees for the Cuban infielder, and he's hitting just .259 in Single-A. He may very well develop over the next couple of years, but the early performance is at least worth noting.

Then go back to the aforementioned Stephen Drew signing, the $82.5 million given to Rick Porcello, the $9.5 million given to Justin Masterson ... and you have to be at least a little concerned about the front office's ability to assess talent.

--One more Red Sox thought: What if this is the real Rick Porcello?

I was checking out his numbers this week, and what stuck out to me is that his WHIP, K/9 rate and BB/9 rate really aren't that far off from his career numbers. Check it out:

WHIP, by year

2009: 1.336
2010: 1.389
2011: 1.407
2012: 1.531
2013: 1.282
2014: 1.231
2015: 1.405
Career: 1.363

K/9, by year

2009: 4.7
2010: 4.6
2011: 5.1
2012:
5.5
2013: 7.2
2014: 5.7
2015: 7.1
Career: 5.6

BB/9, by year

2009: 2.7
2010: 2.1
2011: 2.3
2012:
2.2
2013: 2.1
2014: 1.8
2015: 2.1
Career: 2.2

 

Even more troubling is that this can't all be chalked up to some long stretch of bad luck, because Porcello's BABIP is not remarkably higher than normal.

BABIP, by year

2009: .279
2010: .308
2011: .318
2012:
.345
2013: .317
2014: .299
2015: .329
Career: .313

Essentially, what these numbers show is that batters are putting the ball in play at roughly the same regularity they did when Porcello had a 4.30 ERA for Detroit. Except now they're hitting the ball a lot harder (his ground ball rate is at 43 percent, by far the lowest of his career, and he's on pace to give up more homers than ever before in his career) and he has a 6.08 ERA for Boston.

So the question is ... how scary is it that this might essentially be what you get out of Rick Porcello for the next four years?

--I am completely, utterly fascinated by Rajon Rondo's fall from grace. I know that in Boston, he was hardly a universally revered star, but make no mistake -- he was a star. The man did things with a basketball that literally nobody else in the world can do. He was headstrong and a coach's nightmare and all of that, sure, but he had the talent to at least back it up.

Then, of course, he went to Dallas, and everything fell apart. He essentially got kicked off the team in the playoffs, which might be an unprecedented move by the Mavericks. So it's not surprising in the least that he signed a one-year deal to prove his worth, but the fact that it's only worth $10 million is rather astounding. That's a pay cut. For a 29-year-old, four-time All-Star. This was a guy who just last October was talking about wanting a max contract. Talk about a falling star.

Granted, he might turn it around this year  and prove himself worthy of a long-term, big money deal. Maybe. Yet is going to the mess that is Sacramento really the best place to showcase your skills? The destruction -- or, in large part, the self-destruction -- of Rajon Rondo's star power has been one of the most fascinating developments in all of sports in 2015.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here. You can email him or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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