Since the trade that sent fan favorite Nomar Garciaparra to the north side of Chicago in 2004, the Red Sox have been searching for a franchise-type shortstop. In 2009 the Sox signed a pair of 17-year-old twin brothers from Aruba. One a catcher named Jair (now ironically with the Cubs organization), the other a shortstop named Xander. Both Bogaerts brothers are touted for their raw power at the plate, and that has made the Red Sox brass feel like they’ve found that franchise-type guy.
Scouting reports on the 6’3” shortstop say he has a very high baseball intelligence; with a smooth natural right handed swing, showing an ability to drive balls to all fields. On the flip side he has a tendency to misjudge the strike zone; and has issues with footwork while fielding, though these are fairly correctable problems with coaching. The bigger problem for owners now, is that his path to the big leagues has been blocked with the signing of Stephen Drew. There are some experts suggesting that Drew is just warming the seat for a Bogaerts call up during the season, and still others think he could be moved to 3B. In any case he’ll have the opportunity to show what he can do at SS during spring training, and at 3B while playing for team Kingdom of the Netherlands during the World Baseball Classic.
There could be a time when Middlebrooks makes the move across the diamond to 1B making Bogaerts the 3B, and then making 2012 1st rounder Deven Marrero the SS, but that’s more likely a few years away. Bogaerts has 30 HR power and if he does stick at SS; that’s a big deal in the fantasy world. To put it into perspective only four everyday SS hit 20+ HR last season, and of those four only one had a Batting Average better than .260. This is certainly a guy fantasy owners need to be aware of and pay attention to.
Xander played rookie ball in 2010, before spending 2011 in low A Greenville where he finished with a .260/.324/.423 stat line and 16 HR, 45 RBI, 1SB. He improved upon that last season which was split between A+ Salem and AA Portland with a .307/.373/.523 triple slash, hitting 20 HR, 81 RBI, and 5 SB in 532 Plate Appearances. For a closer comparison here’s what another big bodied SS with a power bat, hitting between A+ and AA did .286/.337/.410 with 8 HR, 62 RBI, and 5 SB. That hitter was 6’4” Cal Ripken Jr. in 1979. Xander is not yet in the same class as Cal; and the times are certainly different from Cal’s minor league days, but it’s always fun to make bold comparisons.
Time will tell whether the scouts were right on him moving to 3B, but right now Xander is a high floor prospect playing a premium position. Even though he will most likely stay in AA with a possible move up to AAA this season, he certainly could get a September cup of coffee with the Sox. Bogaerts is more than worth a flier in any start up dynasty league, and someone to keep in mind as the season winds on for those in keeper leagues.