Boston Red Sox minor league players of the year announced
By Hunter Noll
Defensive Player of the Year (Ryan Fitzgerald)
Ryan Fitzgerald is so easy to root for. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
The 25-year-old shortstop wasn’t even in the minors two years ago. Now he’s winning awards in the Boston Red Sox minor league system.
Fitzgerald hit .271 with career-highs in doubles (25) and triples (7) while adding three homers. He also had career-bests in RBI (65), runs scored (63) and steals (11).
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Defensively, Fitzgerald is smooth. He had a .960 fielding percentage. That might not sound spectacular but there’s a lot that goes into this.
First off, that’s not a miserable number for shortstops. Javier Baez is considered one of the best at his position and he’s rocking a .973 fielding percentage.
Then, of course, there’s the rest of the team. Many people always talk about how a pitcher’s numbers in the minors might get skewed because the fielding in the league simply isn’t as good.
That goes the same way for the fielders though. Fitzgerald, like any shortstop, isn’t always spot on with his throws. A lot of times a first baseman will bail his shortstop out (Anthony Rizzo with Baez for example). In Advanced-A Fitzgerald didn’t exactly have Rizzo picking balls for him.
This is definitely an award Fitzgerald can win again. He makes a lot of flashy plays and tends to make the routine ones as well. He’s going to be in the minors all of 2020 so that helps as well.
As for his MLB prospects, that’s a tough one. Never count him out, as he’s taught us.
However, he’s not a highly-touted prospect. He’s at a loaded position for Boston and with Xander Bogaerts locked down for a while, it’s not opening up anytime soon.
Fitzgerald’s a really useful player that could scratch and claw his way up. I could honestly see him as a really solid utility guy. Good defense and a solid bat with a lot of potential in it.
Not next season, and probably not the year after that either. But Fitzgerald could be playing in Boston at some point in his career. I mean, he’s winning awards in their minors. That’s got to count for something, right?