Heading into their 2013 World Series matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Red Sox are going to have some decisions to make. The one that’s going to garner the most attention is what they’ll do with David Ortiz when the team is playing on the road, but there’s also the matter of the hot corner.
The Red Sox rolled for most of the 2013 regular season with Will Middlebrooks logging time at third base. Heading into the World Series, on the game’s biggest stage, they could be ready to hand it off to their youngest player. There’s little doubt that Xander Bogaerts has earned the chance.
We didn’t see too much from Bogaerts during the regular season. Though his callup did draw some attention, given his status as a top prospect in Boston’s system, he made just 50 plate appearances in 18 games, hitting .250, posting a .320 on-base percentage, and hitting one home run, with five runs knocked in, over that span.
During the American League Championship Series against Detroit is where we saw Bogaerts really begin to prove that he belongs at this level. He saw an increased opportunity, starting both Game 5 and Game 6, with his contributions in the latter proving crucial for the Red Sox to clinch the win, and the AL Pennant.
Bogaerts scored the first run of the game for Boston in Game 6, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. While that lead would disappear, Bogaerts would demonstrate incredible patience at the plate against Max Scherzer in drawing a walk, after an initial 1-2 count, that set up the Shane Victorino grand slam.
Throughout this postseason, Bogaerts has looked impressive in a limited sample size. He made 11 plate appearances and reached base in eight of them, including five walks. That type of patience and ability to get on base is going to be absolutely crucial at this point in the postseason.
Going with Xander Bogaerts at third base is probably exactly what the Red Sox will do. It’s been an up and down season for Middlebrooks, and with Bogaerts looking as locked in as he is right now, it makes more sense to go with the youngster. We’ll see if that’s the route they go for sure, though.