As the Red Sox gradually fall out of contention in 2014, the focus has shifted from the team’s on-field results to the positive outlook of Boston’s future. Many components of what GM Ben Cherington has dubbed as “the next great Red Sox team” are already in Boston, with Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Brandon Workman currently regulars on the Red Sox. However, there’s more to come in the upper levels of the farm system and one potentially key player in Boston’s future is shortstop Deven Marrero.
Despite being taken in the first round of the 2012 draft out of Arizona State University, Marrero has never been one of the top prospects in the Red Sox’ system. As a glove-first shortstop without the potential to become an impact player, Marrero has regularly been overshadowed in prospect rankings. However, just because Marrero will never be a star and profiles more as a strong defensive shortstop at the bottom of the team’s lineup does not mean that he won’t be a valuable piece of the Red Sox’ future.
Now 23 years old, Marrero has recovered from a poor 2013 season by slashing .291/.371/.433 in Double-A Portland before a recent promotion to Pawtucket. His glove has always been described as well above average but he is finally hitting enough to potentially profile as an MLB starter before long. He has the contact skills and plate discipline to become at least a decent Major League starter and perhaps that will be on the Red Sox.
The Red Sox still say that they consider Xander Bogaerts to be the team’s shortstop of the future, but if Marrero is able to hit consistently, then it would be in Boston’s best interest to keep Bogaerts at third base. Bogaerts never has profiled to be a great defensive shortstop and that has been proven in a small sample this season; meanwhile, there’s no question that Marrero will not only be able to remain at shortstop but he also has the potential to excel there.
It’s too early in Marrero’s to be throwing around terms like “shortstop of the future,” but I’ll do it anyway because, while he may not have impact potential, he has a higher floor than possibly anybody else in the Red Sox’ system. Teams employ strong defensive shortstops with questionable bats all the time (Example A: Jose Iglesias) and that’s at least what Marrero will be able to accomplish. He may never get the recognition he deserves and he may never be a top 100 prospect, but in a few years’ time, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him entrenched at the shortstop position in Fenway Park.