When I wrote about the five questions the defending World Series Champions Boston Red Sox need to answer in spring training, I stated the Red Sox need to decide what to do about Stephen Drew. It was my belief that it was quite possible the Red Sox would re-sign Drew because the price may end up being right. I still believe that could happen, however, it is possible that Drew is not in a Boston uniform in 2014. If Drew ends up playing elsewhere, Xander Bogaerts would be the starting shortstop for the Red Sox, and Will Middlebrooks would most likely handle third base. This now seems to be the likely scenario, and with 2014 technically being Xander’s rookie season (he played in 18 games in 2013), the Red Sox want him to concentrate on playing one position. If the Red Sox end up re-signing Drew, Bogaerts may start at third base. Either way, Bogaerts is someone to keep an eye on, and I’m sure many Red Sox fans are doing just that.
The Red Sox’ first full-squad spring training workout is currently scheduled for Feb. 20.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Bogaerts was signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2009 and made his debut for the team on Aug. 20, 2013. In those 18 games Xander hit .250 with an OBP of .320, SLG of .364 and OBP of.684. In the postseason Bogaerts hit .296 with an OBP of .412, SLG of .481 and OPS of .893 in 12 games (34 plate appearances). Bogaerts eventually took over the starting duties at third base after Game 4 of the ALCS. One thing I love about Bogaerts is that with his incredible bat speed he hits for power but he doesn’t sacrifice his fluid swing. With Bogaerts’ defense rapidly improving, he will most likely get the chance to prove he could be an extremely reliable shortstop or third baseman.
I love Bogaerts’ work ethic and attitude as well. He has truly been preparing for the 2014 season, including working out with some of his fellow Aruba natives. He is more comfortable at shortstop even though he took over at third base last season. Bogaerts has stated it doesn’t matter to him where he plays, that it’s the team’s decision and he will do whatever is needed to help the team. I love that. The fact that he is already mature enough to say he’ll play where the team needs him to speaks to his character. Pro athletes can have egos and some MLB players may not be open to playing any position other than their normal spot.
Bogaerts’ poise, skill-set, maturity and work ethic should make him a huge component of the Red Sox’ repeat efforts in 2014. I’m looking forward to watching Bogaerts play an entire season, and I’m sure other Red Sox fans are as well.