Xander Bogaerts is one of the youngest players to ever come up and play for the Boston Red Sox. He sure didn’t perform like a rookie who just turned 21 right before the postseason. He had the maturity, poise and talent of a player about 10 years his age. He grew into the starting third baseman role for the Red Sox through October and John Farrell had complete confidence in him being a regular in the lineup.
Throughout the course of the year, it looked like Stephen Drew was only going to play for the Red Sox for one year and move on, moving Bogaerts back to shortstop and Will Middlebrooks at the hot corner. However, as bad of a postseason as Drew had offensively, it was just as incredible defensively. He made some plays that almost no other shortstop could make.
Bogaerts has always been more profiled as a third baseman rather than a shortstop, so the fact that he could switch over isn’t all that surprising. What is surprising is how soon this conversion seems to be happening. Drew was just that good defensively that the Red Sox appeared to really fall in love with his ability.
This now means that Middlebrooks is the odd man out. He had his moments this past season but for the most part, he really struggled in his second year in the major leagues. He does have enough of a track record where some team could really be interested in him. He could be part of a package deal with other young players to get someone like a Giancarlo Stanton or maybe a David Price.
He also could be the centerpiece in a deal for Boston to get some bullpen help. The other issue with Middlebrooks is he seemed to struggle quite a bit during the postseason. Bogaerts took over and never gave the job back.
You always worry when you see a young player struggle in the postseason. You don’t know if it was just a slump or if the moments were just too big. Bogaerts showed none of those issues, and that is why he will be the starting third baseman for the Red Sox in 2014.
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