Xander Bogaerts is one of the most talked about and prized prospects to come up for the Boston Red Sox in a very long time. It seems as though he has just flown through all the levels of the Minor Leagues. At this point, he is playing for the Red Sox and he just turned 21. With the Detroit Tigers absolutely handcuffing the Red Sox offense, John Farrell has recently inserted Bogaerts into the lineup. Is he really ready for this?
The postseason is a totally different atmosphere than the regular season. Every pitch, every at-bat matters. One could have a veteran like a Dustin Pedroia, struggling because he is trying to do too much. Pedroia is a player who has been in a few postseason games and these situations can even get to him. What does it say for a player who has only been in the big leagues for a few months and just became legal age while Boston clinched their division? This could be a situation where it might be too much pressure for the rookie. He did get a base hit in Game 4 so that could be promising
One of the qualities that gets mentioned a lot about Bogaerts is his maturity and how poised he is for someone his age. However, people said that Rick Ankiel was very mature for his age in 2000. I am sure he was but that didn’t help him at all when the postseason moments got to be too much and he basically melted down on the mound during that NLDS. He was never the same after that and his pitching career was tragically over. Tony La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinals‘ manager at the time, said he regretted starting Ankiel. Hopefully Farrell won’t have the same regrets.
If this gamble works out that’s great, but if it doesn’t it could ruin a very, very special player.