The Boston Red Sox have developed one of the deepest farm systems in the MLB. It seems like they have a major league quality prospect at virtually every position. The crown jewel out of all of these prospects, without a doubt, is Xander Bogaerts, and Red Sox Nation has been clamoring for him to be called up for months.
He has the potential to be a very special player for a long, long time, and might be the best homegrown prospect since Nomar Garciaparra. Therefore, he should not be called up to Boston right now.
Sounds crazy? Here’s why.
The Red Sox currently are three games up on the Tampa Bay Rays and five games up on the Baltimore Orioles. Both teams have given the Red Sox a run for their money all season. Right now is the time that Boston needs seasoned veterans and players who have participated in big games to be able to clinch a spot in the postseason.
Bogaerts has no big league experience. None. Now is not the time to see what he is made of; not at this crucial period of the season, when every inning and every win matters, and scoreboard-watching is a normal activity.
Over the years, baseball has had many can’t-miss prospects who well, missed. Some of them were because they were brought up too soon and wilted under pressure. When you have a divisional race where nothing has been settled yet, there is just no sense in ruining a career of a young player, especially one with the potential to be this good.
Bogaerts is going to be something special — you can bet on it. He really can do it all and is the perfect example of a five-tool player. He can hit for power and is projected to be a 30-home run player in the future. One can easily see him in the heart of the lineup. He has elite bat speed, a good approach at the plate and a beautiful swing.
Bogaerts is solid defensively and has a great arm. He is very often compared to Manny Machado of the Orioles, which is great praise.
However, Bogaerts also has just started to figure it out with the bat very recently in Triple-A, where the game really speeds up and he faces pitchers with major league stuff and experience. It was a struggle for him when he first got to Pawtucket. He needs more time to be seasoned, and that time is best served in Triple-A for now — definitely not in the heat of a pennant race where a big error or a key strikeout in a huge game can ruin a young player’s mind for a long, long time.
Sure, once the rosters expand on September 1, call him up and ease him into the big leagues. They should also call him up if the team can settle things early in their division. In that situation, there wouldn’t be anything to lose. Right now, Boston is much more suited to have Stephen Drew at short and Will Middlebrooks at third. At least Middlebrooks has a year or so of experience.
Barring something very unforeseen, Red Sox fans will get to watch Bogaerts for years. It won’t hurt to wait a few more weeks.