30 Prospects in 30 Days: Xander Bogaerts – SS – Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an international free agent in 2009 when he was just 17 years old. Bogaerts is a right-handed hitting, right-handed fielding infielder who fantasy owners everywhere hope can stick at shortstop. His defensive skills have been a big question and much speculation has suggested that he might not have the glove to be a major league shortstop. But apparently he has made some strides defensively. Keith Law says he has improved and his chances of sticking at shortstop are “up over even money.”
If that’s the case, we’re potentially talking about the next big fantasy shortstop because Bogaerts can hit. Law says he has a “picturesque” swing and he gets “surprisingly hard contact.” Law likes the kid so much he ranked him as his fifth best prospect in the league heading into 2013. As you might expect, Law isn’t the only one who likes Bogaerts. Baseball America has him at #8 and the best in the Boston system while MLB.com has him at #20.
Bogaerts has showed some really nice pop so far in the minors. He had a slugging percentage over .500 and an ISO over .200 in his stops at A ball, high-A, and AA. In 827 plate appearances above rookie ball the kid has 36 home runs. And he’s only 19! At 6’3” and only 175 pounds it seems Bogaerts may have a little room to grow into his frame, and his power has the potential to grow accordingly.
Bogaerts isn’t all pop either. He has showed some pretty decent plate discipline for a kid his age as he struck out under 20% of the time and walked just under 10% of the time in 434 PAs at high-A last year. As he gains experience, his eye is sure to improve. So he has some pretty nice average and on-base potential to go with the power. Unfortunately, speed doesn’t seem to be included in his skill set. He’s only stolen ten bases in over 1,000 minor league PAs, and he has been caught more times than he has been successful. He’ll probably chip in a little bit in the steals category, but we’re not quite talking about the next Hanley Ramirez here.
The shortstop situation in Boston is so dire that Bogaerts is likely to get the call as soon as he is ready. But he needs more seasoning. He got just an appetizer’s worth of a taste of AA last year, so a 2014 arrival seems more likely.
However, Stephen Drew is slotted in at SS now, but we all know he won’t be healthy for long. The Sox will likely turn shortstop over to Jose Iglesias when Drew gets hurt, and Iglesias leaves a lot to be desired with his bat. If Bogaerts absolutely ripped through AA and AAA, there’s a chance he could make it up this season. And a September call up is certainly a possibility. But again, 2014 is more likely so those in even deep redraft leagues probably won’t get much out of Bogaerts this season. For those of you in dynasty leagues, I hope you already own him.