Entering the 2012 season, there was already uncertainty between whether Jose Iglesias or Xander Bogaerts was the shortstop of the future. In recent weeks, that debate has become even more uncertain. The Red Sox drafted shortstop Deven Marrero in the first round of the 2012 draft and recently signed Taiwanese shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin. It could be that the Red Sox are stockpiling shortstops for a potential trade and I’ve heard that Bogaerts may move to third base, but it’s still very odd for Red Sox management to have all these highly rated shortstops in their system.
Xander Bogaerts is the most highly rated of the above– SoxProspects has him rated as #2 in the Red Sox system. He has drawn comparisons to Hanley Ramirez as he is large for his position– 6’3″ 175 pounds– and has potential for some legit power. The kicker with Bogaerts is that this highly rated shortstop is only 19 years old and playing for the single-A Greenville Drive. After a rough start to this season, Bogaerts has rebounded very well and is currently hitting at .293/.372/.489 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs. Bogaerts is a great prospect, no doubt, and certainly has potential to be by far the best hitter of the bunch.
Jose Iglesias is kind of like the anti-Bogaerts as he’s pretty much the opposite to him in every way. While Bogaerts has potential to be a middle-of-the-order bat, Iglesias probably belongs in the #8 or #9 spot. While Bogaerts has an uncertain future of where he’ll play, Iglesias will almost definitely stick at shortstop as he is labeled as a fantastic fielder. One bright spot for Iglesias is that he’s made progress offensively this season– the 23 year old is currently hitting .262/.309/.308 with 1 home run, 14 RBIs, and 8 stolen bases. The offense may never come for Iglesias, but will his defense make that worthwhile?
After being taken with the #24 pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft, Deven Marrero was officially signed by the Red Sox a week or so ago. He was assigned to short season-A Lowell and has gotten off to a pretty quick start as their shortstop. He’s currently hitting .375 (6-16) with a home run but despite that start, is being labeled as a Jose Iglesias type player. He was also very good at defense playing for Arizona State, and the offense was decent for him but a disappointing junior year let him fall to the Red Sox. The Red Sox hope that he can become a very good defensive shortstop while playing as a fairly good offensive shortstop somewhere in between Iglesias and Bogaerts.
Tzu-Wei Lin is a little more of a mystery than the others. After rumors that the Yankees were going to sign him, the Red Sox scooped him up with the highest ever signing bonus for a Taiwanese player– a $2.05 million bonus. He is labeled as yet another defensive minded shortstop who is lacking on offense. He is just 18 and his signing could be exciting for the Red Sox. However, with Marrero and Iglesias both in the system and both probably going to be better, is it possible that Lin could just be a trade chip.
It’s very hard to say who among these options should be the shortstop of the future. I say that Bogaerts should be the best of the bunch, but the question becomes whether he will move to third. And if he does move to third, what happens to Will Middlebrooks? Iglesias is the closest to the majors so he could probably hold down the fort for a few years until Bogaerts is ready. Again, it’s also fair to trade Iglesias and let Mike Aviles play there while they wait for Marrero (who is expected to be MLB ready in two or three years) or Bogaerts. I personally think that they should go with the latter route: trading Iglesias for pitching and waiting for Marrero, who can keep the seat warm for Bogaerts. David Ortiz probably won’t be with the team at this point, so Middlebrooks or Bogaerts can play DH while the other plays third and Marrero plays short. However, this is all based on projections and for now– this is just a jumbled mess.