Red Sox shortstop prospect Ryan Fitzgerald
Boston has Xander Bogaerts at shortstop. You aren’t going to hear me say many bad things about him. I find it hilarious that some fans aren’t all-in on him. He’s easily the best shortstop Boston has had since the legendary Nomar Garciaparra. Side note, I have a MLB 07: The Show franchise with “aging” Nomar as my shortstop/two-hitter and through 11 games he’s hitting .425 with four homers. I also have Rocco Baldelli, Julio Lugo, Pedro Martinez, and Ken Griffey Jr. on the squad. Streaming a lot of the games on Twitch (give the kid a follow @IrishAnchor).
The only thing I’ll say is that the defense isn’t good. And at some times, that can hurt the Red Sox.
With that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to have someone that can play gold glove defense behind him. And when you’re getting a backup for a star player, it’s smart to not be breaking the bank for him.
Oh, look at that – they have a player in the minors that has shown he can play incredible defense already. He has a good bat and added some extra power to his swing this year too. I’ve already talked about how much I like Ryan Fitzgerald in the past and how he deserves a chance.
The right-handed hitter slashed .270/.350/.512 with four triples, 58 RBI, 55 runs scored, and four steals. He also posted career-highs in doubles (32) and home runs (16). Most impressively, he did that between Double-A and Triple-A. Before 2021, he had never played at either level before.
Fitz is insane defensively too. Good range, and that’s about the worst thing I’ll say about him on that side of the ball. He gets great positioning, has a soft glove, and a strong and accurate arm.
There are going to be people that talk about the fact that the Creighton product is undrafted, or that he’s 27 and will turn 28 during the year, or that he isn’t a ranked prospect and gets little fanfare. But I’m here to say, who cares? Fitzgerald has played at a high-level since joining the system. He’s proven himself and has earned an opportunity.
Fitzgerald won’t make the team out of Spring Training. But he’ll be in Triple-A to start the year, and should be on the short-list when injuries occur. When given the chance, I think a lot of fans will love him too.
It also helps that he can play a lot of other positions, having seen time everywhere last year except catcher and pitcher. Shortstop is his bread-and-butter though. And in 2022 the temperate on a Ryan Fitzgerald debut feels pretty warm. Might even call it “hot”.