Bogaerts' Power Gets Red Sox's Attention
BOSTON—Xander Bogaerts is just 18, and has barely two months of experience playing for an affiliate in the U.S. Nevertheless, his power display has been unlike anything the Red Sox have seen in years.
Through 48 games, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound shortstop had 11 home runs and 21 extra-base hits for low Class A Greenville, in the process producing a .235/.307/.486 line.
"You never expect a guy to do that from a power standpoint at that age," farm director Mike Hazen said. "We haven't had one do that."
The Red Sox signed the native of Aruba for $410,000 in 2009 based on his mix of tools, off-field maturity and precocious baseball intelligence.
Bogaerts excelled in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2010, hitting .314/.396/.423, and in spring training this year he once again emerged as an unmistakable talent. He carried that into extended spring training and, in Hazen's words, "dominated" against older competition, persuading the Sox to push him to Greenville.
There, Bogaerts has continued to make an unmistakable sensory impression.
"When he makes contact and you're not watching BP and he makes contact, you say, 'Oh, that's Xander,' " Greenville hitting coach Luis Lopez said.
He has impacted the ball in similar fashion in games. While he has gone through ups and downs that would be expected of the fourth-youngest position player in the South Atlantic League this year, two things stand out for his age and level.
First, of course, has been the consistency of the righthanded-hitting Bogaerts' power, particularly against breaking balls from righthanders. Perhaps more impressive, however, has been Bogaerts' maturity as a hitter.
"He knows what he's doing wrong and the very next AB, he's going to go out there and correct it," Lopez said. "This kid has an idea. He won't give away at-bats."
Bogaerts is young and far from the majors. It remains to be seen if he'll stay at short as his long, wiry frame fills out. Nonetheless, his first impressions have the Sox eager to see what will take place going forward.
"We can't start penciling him into the Red Sox lineup just yet," Greenville manager Billy McMillon said. "(But) I think as he continues to grow, develop and get more repetition, you're going to see his name a lot."
• Outfielder Ryan Kalish returned to Triple-A Pawtucket after missing roughly four months with shoulder and neck injuries.
• With 29 homers in Double-A and Triple-A through mid-August, catcher Ryan Lavarnway had clubbed the most homers in a single season by a Sox minor leaguer since Earl Snyder hit 36 in 2004.