Boston Red Sox top prospect Xander Bogaerts is moving through the minors at a rapid pace. The current shortstop made his debut at just 16 years old, and he will now become the youngest player in the Red Sox’s history to make an appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket.
Bogaerts dominated in 56 games for Double-A Portland this season. He posted an outstanding .311 batting average with six home runs, 35 RBI, 12 doubles, six triples, five stolen bases and 40 runs in 219 at-bats.
There is no question Bogaerts can hit, which is why he is inching his way closer to making his Major League Baseball debut. However, Boston may have a hard time finding a place for him at the top level defensively. Even though Bogaerts has an exceptional glove with great range to play shortstop, he is still planning on putting on more weight and muscle. That means that the range could deteriorate, which would not make him a very effective shortstop.
The fact that Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew has nowhere near the offensive capability of Bogaerts proves that his starting job will not last forever. However, Jose Iglesias, who currently backs up at shortstop and third base for Boston in the majors, is an above-average defensive player who also carries a good bat at the plate. There is no question he has what it takes to man the shortstop position for many years to come.
So, what exactly does that mean for Bogaerts’ chances at the big leagues in the near future?
“If his body fills out, gets too thick, loses some range, there might be a consideration to move him to third,” a National League Central scout, who has spent more than enough time around Bogaerts, told ESPN.com. “I think the Red Sox have more depth at shortstop and have less depth at third base, so that might be part of their thinking of why he’s been playing some third base.”
At this point, the Red Sox are not too worried on how Bogaerts is going to fit in at the next level. They just want to see how he handles playing in Triple-A. If all goes well, he could be considered a September call-up and even get a Spring Training invite next year.