MLB’s 25 Most Improved Players Prospects for 2016 Momentum

#5. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

2015 WAR: 4.6
2014 WAR: 0.3
WAR Improvement: 4.3

“There’s a chance [Xander] Bogaerts keeps progressing rapidly and makes these words of caution look silly next summer,” Alex Skillin wrote for Over the Monster in early January after providing some cautionary statistics. Pointing out anomalies like a .372 BABIP — one of the highest in MLB last year — are legitimate critiques.

But as Skillin continued, “For players this talented, sometimes things simply do just click into place.”

If we were looking at Bogaerts’ numbers in a vacuum, it would be fairly easy to predict some regression. An unsustainable amount of the balls he put into play found gaps, he took an astronomical leap on the defensive end and he proved nearly impervious to the strikeout efforts of big-league pitchers.

All of that suggests a step in the wrong direction is nigh approaching, but it overlooks the fact that we’re talking about a mega-talented 23-year-old who should adjust his approach throughout the offseason. He’ll inevitably take more walks in 2016 after showing a strong eye against lower levels of competition, and his power should only be improving.

Numbers never lie. But sometimes, they can leave out important bits of truth.