Entering the 2014 season, Xander Bogaerts was hailed as the next big star for the Boston Red Sox. After shining during the 2013 World Series, Bogaerts was touted to be the starting shortstop after the Red Sox let Stephen Drew go into free agency. In the early part of the 2014 season, Bogaerts has hit the ball well, but has made some defensive and base running mistakes that will be reduced over time.
Despite some early pitfalls in his first full MLB season, Bogaerts has all the necessary tools to become the long-term solution for the Red Sox at shortstop.
Offensively, Bogaerts has been finding success against big league pitching, hitting .277 with one home run and five RBIs in 23 games. Bogaerts consistently hits line drives, and occasionally unleashes powerful strokes that drive in many runs. His swing reminds many scouts of Manny Ramirez‘s powerful stroke, meaning that he could become a powerful hitter in the prime of his career.
In essence, Bogaert’s true power hasn’t been unleashed yet, but with time, expect him to become a powerful offensive producer for the Red Sox.
A major adjusting point for him is his defensive ability at shortstop. Bogaerts mostly played third base to accommodate for Drew to play shortstop, but through his first 23 games, Bogaerts hasn’t completely adjusted his game to become a solid defensive shortstop. He has shown spurts of potential through his hustle and agility when trying to field grounders, but his defensive timing and throws to first base could improve over time.
Even with the minor adjustments that he needs to make, Bogaerts has the ability to stop the chain of inconsistent shortstops for the Red Sox. Ever since Nomar Garciaparra was traded in 2004, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Rentería, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, Mike Aviles and Drew did not capitalize on their opportunity as the shortstop for the Red Sox, leaving many holes in the developmental process.
Bogaerts luckily has the skills to stop the cyclical turmoil for the Red Sox at shortstop, giving them hope for many years to come.
Essentially, even though Bogaert’s rookie mistakes have been magnified due to an 11-13 start for the Red Sox, his raw skills could transform into refined talent that can be beneficial in the future. With Bogaerts already proving his offensive worth during the 2014 season, he can overcome his growing pains to become a solid candidate not only for Rookie of the Year in 2014, but also for many other honors in the long run.