In case you missed Conor’s post yesterday, some of us here at BSI are kicking off the New Year with player profiles of each of the 25 players who are expected to make the opening day roster. Over the course of the month, keep an eye out for these daily installments of the 25-in-25 series.
Second on our list is rookie infielder, 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts.
Player Profile: Boston signed the right-handed hitting Bogaerts out of his native Aruba back in August of 2009. Over parts of 4 seasons in Boston’s minor league system, Bogaerts has put up an impressive .296/.373/.489 triple slash line in 378 total games. Widely considered Boston’s top prospect, and one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Bogaerts boasts a plus hit tool coupled with potentially plus power. Bogaerts’ calling card will always be his abilities at the plate, but he has steadily improved his defensive skills to the point where many evaluators believe he has the ability to stick at shortstop for the long run.
2013 in review: 2013 saw Bogaerts make both his AAA and MLB debuts after competing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic in early spring. Bogaerts started slow in Portland, but got hot enough through the spring to earn a promotion to Pawtucket on the 13th of June, becoming the youngest player in the International League. After wreaking havoc on AA pitchers, Bogaerts faded only slightly at Pawtucket, hitting 287/.369/.457 and seeing some playing time at third base. After the Jose Iglesias trade, Bogaerts was summoned to the Bigs on the 19th of August, where he starred down the stretch run, filling in for both Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks.
2014 Outlook: Bogaerts will have his name written into the lineup card from Opening Day, but where he plays is tied to the Drew contract situation. Should Drew return, Bogaerts will likely start in place of Middlebrooks, otherwise look for Bogaerts to see most of his time at his natural position. Bogaerts his .250 in his limited big league exposure this past season, look for that number to improve as Bogaerts adjusts to Major League pitchers, though it might not happen as quickly as we might like. Boston will be putting a lot of pressure on Bogaerts should they not re-sign Drew, as the Red Sox will start two rookies up the middle in Bogaerts and center fielder, Jackie Bradley, Jr. Look for Bogaerts to don Jacoby Ellsbury‘s old number 2 jersey to start the season.