More than any other position across the diamond, the Red Sox are absolutely stacked with shortstop prospects. Four of their top 20 prospects (according to SoxProspects) play shortstop, at least for now, as it’s really a strong position for the Red Sox. Moreover, shortstop is the home of the consensus #1 Red Sox prospect, Xander Bogaerts– an athletic Aruban with five-tool potential. Although it may be a weak position for the Red Sox at the moment, in a few years, they’ll probably be set for the longterm.
1. Xander Bogaerts- It’s pretty difficult to think of a solid reason not to be incredibly excited about Xander Bogaerts’ arrival in the majors. He’s just 20 years old (and will play most of the 2013 season at that age) and has shot through the minors, finishing 2012 at Double-A Portland. Between Portland and High-A Salem, Bogaerts raked to a .307/.373/.523 line with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs. He isn’t fantastic defensively, and will probably outgrow shortstop sooner rather than later– maybe destined for a corner outfield spot. However, his bat is immensely excited and he could be on the big stage by 2014.
2. Jose Iglesias- It wasn’t too long ago that Iglesias was the Red Sox’ top prospect due to his fantastic glove. His glove has stayed great, and he has Gold Glove potential even at this age. However, his hitting has stalled out as he hits for almost no power and relatively little contact. He wasn’t awful in Triple-A Pawtucket, at .266/.318/.306, but he was miserable in the majors– hitting just .118 in 68 at bats. Still, he’ll probably be on the major league roster in 2012 and it isn’t unreasonable to expect an average in the .230-.250 range with excellent defense even next year.
3. Deven Marrero- Marrero has drawn comparisons to Iglesias due to his strong defense not-so-strong offense approach. However, he’s probably closer to average on both sides of the ball, as he has a lower defensive ceiling but higher offensive ceiling. Drafted in the 1st round of the 2012 draft, he signed quickly and the 22 year old hit .268/.358/.374 with 24 stolen bases in Low-A Lowell. He’s probably destined to move relatively quickly through the minors and could be in the majors by late 2014 or 2015.
4. Jose Vinicio- Vinicio fits the same demographic as Iglesias and Marrero, with great defensive potential and decent offensive potential. As a small-framed (5’11”, 165 lbs) 19 year old, he uses his excellent speed to his advantage defensively and mixes in a good glove with a solid arm. For his size, he even has respectable power, knocking 3 home runs and a .371 slugging percentage in 2012. He’s destined to follow in Xander Bogaerts’ footsteps and start in Salem as a 19 year old, hopefully with similar results.
With a phenomenal mix like this, it’s very difficult to determine the shortstop of the future. Iglesias will probably start 2012 with the starting shortstop job, but his bat may take him out of the running before all is said and done. Bogaerts is the opposite, as he has an excellent bat, but his below average range may take him out of the running. That leaves Marrero and Vinicio, who may both enter the majors around 2015. It’s possible that we may see a flurry of moves in coming months, because (if there’s such a thing), the Red Sox have too many good shortstop prospects.