Xander Bogaerts played a big role in The Boston Red Sox winning the 2013 World Series. The young utility infielder stepped in and produced both defensively and at the plate in place of struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks. While Middlebrooks is still a viable option at third base, Bogaerts showcased a smooth glove and a calm approach at the plate on the biggest stage in baseball. He did everything you could ask of a young player without hesitation.
His productivity becomes even more important with the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury. As good as Jackie Bradley Jr. is defensively, someone is going to have to make up his lack of offense. If his minor league production can translate to a full season of MLB action, Bogaerts has the capability to be a .300 hitter that could rack up 25 blasts and 75-80 runs a year.
Bogaerts seems to have “it”. His MLB stat line is a small sample, but he shows the kind of moxie that you want in a young player. He can solidify himself as a long term option at third base, which would give Boston the luxury of shopping Middlebrooks along with one of the teams extra starting pitchers, as Peter Abraham suggested a few days ago in The Boston Globe.
While the talent of a young prospect can never be guaranteed (just look at Middlebrooks performance last year), the upside to Bogaerts seems to be a much greater value than the chances of failure. He has the look and patience of a future all star, the versatility to play either shortstop or third, and a swing that will only get better with time. With all of the talk about the established stars in Boston’s lineup, people are sleeping on Bogaerts. Don’t sleep on him for too long, he very well could be the X Factor for the defending World Series Champions.
Do you think Xander Bogaerts can be a long term solution at third base, or do you think Will Middlebrooks will rebound in 2014? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.