Aug 31, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) doubles during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
1. Xander Bogaerts, 21 years old
You probably knew this was coming. Bogaerts, the Red Sox top prospect last season, tore through the Minor Leagues in time for the playoffs and impressed fans and scouts alike by slashing .296/.412/.481 in the postseason as the Red Sox went on to win the World Series.
Ranked the #2 prospect in all of baseball entering the season, expectations were understandably high for Bogaerts in 2014 and, while his full-season debut hasn’t gone as planned, his enormous potential is still there. Bogaerts has slashed just .232/.296/.348 but he has shown occasional flashes of brilliance before a dismal slump which lasted from the beginning of June to a week or so ago.
Bogaerts is still remarkably only 21 years old so it’s no wonder why he’s struggling in his first full season but, despite his struggles, he still possesses a ton of talent. There’s a very real chance that Bogaerts will develop into one of, if not the best offensive shortstop in baseball within a few seasons and could be a middle-of-the-order hitter for the next decade. That’s the kind of promise that teams just don’t give up on.