2014 Fantasy BaseballAndrew Miller

45 Prospects in 45 Days: Boston’s Xander Bogaerts

Profile

One of the more highly anticipated Major League prospects set for his first full season is Xander Bogaerts, Boston’s top prospect. The 21-year-old shortstop played well in his first taste of the big leagues last September, going .250/.320/.364 in 50 regular season plate appearances and .296/.412/.481 in 34 postseason plate appearances. Most notable in Bogaerts’ debut was his plate discipline, walking 11 times overall and averaging 4.1 pitches per plate appearance – which would’ve ranked 20th in the majors had he qualified. Bogaerts displayed good power and plate discipline in his minor league seasons, so it’s good to see that the shortstop carried over one of his skills while the other one will come as he ages.

Pundits

Of the three prospect sources I look at most often – ESPN’s Keith Law, Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis – Bogaerts comes in at second on all three lists. At a position that’s loaded with top-tier prospects Bogaerts is regarded as the best of the bunch. Bogaerts projects to be a good defender, but an even better hitter.

Law projects Bogaerts to have plus power with “explosive potential,” while MLB.com says he has “big raw power.” Both sources rave about Bogaerts’ ability to make hard, loud contact. Parks believes Bogaerts will “hit for both a high average and game power.” BP and Law compare Bogaerts to Troy Tulowitzki, minus the double-digit steal potential/history. Multiple mentions of Boegarts’ makeup and mental focus make his floor very high. The native Aruban has a chance to be a very special player at a thin position, capable of hitting 25 or more homers with a .300 average and a very good on-base percentage.

Minor League Production

Bogaerts signed as an amateur free agent in 2009 and saw his first professional at-bats stateside in 2011. As an 18-year-old in Single A ball he hit 16 home runs in 72 games. As a 19-year-old in his first taste of Double A he hit .326/.351/.598, and then, at 20, he dominated Triple A with nine homers and a near-11 percent walk rate in 60 games.

Age

Level

PA

HR

K%

BB%

AVG

OPS

18

A

296

16

24

8.4

.260

.833

19

A+

435

15

19.5

9.9

.302

.883

19

AA

97

5

21.6

1.0

.326

.949

20

AA

259

6

19.7

13.5

.306

.892

20

AAA

256

9

17.2

10.9

.284

.822

From day one Bogaerts displayed great power and the ability to hit for a high average with a high BABIP. It’s great to see his walk rate get better as he aged and went up the minor league ladder.

Projections

 

System

PA

HR

BB%

K%

AVG

OBP

SLG

Steamer

558

14

8.1

19.5

.261

.325

.413

Oliver

600

16

9.8

23.5

.269

.343

.436

Zips

573

16

8.0

23.6

.267

.331

.429

All three projection systems believe Bogaerts will be able to make an immediate impact in 2014. It seems like mid-teens in homers should be doable, and in a good Boston lineup he should see plenty of chances at runs and RBI. His plate discipline gives him the chance to supply you with an average that won’t kill you and a good OBP, especially compared to other shortstops. By wOBA, the projections believe Bogaerts will be above average by a fair amount. And would you look at that – Bogaerts top comp, according to Zips, is Tulowitzki.

Prediction

Depending on where you play your fantasy baseball Bogaerts could qualify as a third baseman (CBS and ESPN) or at third and shortstop (Yahoo!). He should gain shortstop eligibility quickly in the season as long as Boston doesn’t sign Stephen Drew or someone else to fill in there. So, if he qualifies at shortstop on draft day he should be a top eight selection in re-draft leagues and possibly a top three selection in keepers. At third base he should be a top 12 selection in re-draft leagues and possibly a top five selection in keepers.

Don’t overdraft him, as we can’t count the number of times someone has had a small amount of success late in the season and then failed to keep it up the next year, even if they were a top prospect. But if you’re debating between Bogaerts or a low-upside established player in the middle rounds take a shot on Bogaerts.

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1 Comment

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