Looking back at the most hyped prospects in recent Red Sox memory
Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts
The story of how Xander Bogaerts joined the Red Sox seems like something out of a fairytale. According to Alex Speier’s book “Homegrown,” a scout named Mike Lord came to Aruba and after seeing a group of players work out, including Xander’s twin brother Jair, asked if there was anybody else he needed to see. All the players gave the same answer: Xander Bogaerts, who was bedridden with chicken pox.
After some convincing to Xander’s mother, Bogaerts arrived at the field and put on such a show that the Red Sox VP of International Scouting flew in to watch him play. Even after weeks in bed and on an uneven Aruban field, Boogey wowed the Red Sox with his smooth fielding and incredible opposite-field power. Bogaerts would eventually sign with the Red Sox for $410,000, a deal that would go down as one of the greatest in Red Sox history.
Despite playing his first game in the Red Sox organization at 17 and being the youngest player at just about every level, Bogaerts rocketed through the system. He appeared in the 2012 Futures Game and entered the 2013 season as the sixth-ranked prospect in all of baseball.
He was rushed to the big leagues after just 139 games above Single-A, and actually started a number of games during the postseason. He was given the starting shortstop job for the 2014 season, and the hype surrounding him could not have been higher.
Yet even for a player as talented as Bogaerts, progress is not always linear. Xander was so bad at the beginning of 2014 that the Red Sox brought back Stephen Drew to push Bogaerts back to this base. He was undoubtedly better in 2015 (.320 average), but he displayed none of the power that he had become so famous for as a prospect.
It looked like he was putting it all together in 2016, earning an All-Star nod for the first time, but he fell off in the second half. 2017 was a disaster, as he battled through a wrist injury to post a measly .746 OPS.
It was in 2018 that Bogaerts started becoming a franchise icon. Over the past five years, Bogey has slashed .302/.375/.517 (134 OPS+) and averaged 28 home runs and 103 RBI per 162 games. The X-Man entered the league with expectations of greatness, and after an up-and-down start, he has more than met the mark.