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Jason Hunt takes a look at a shortstop prospect who could arrive in the Majors as soon as next season, the Red Sox' Xander Bogaerts.
As part of our comprehensive look at the second base position heading into the 2013 fantasy season, Craig Goldstein and I are taking a closer look at two shortstop prospects and how to value them in fantasy. This is to give you a better idea of two of the players listed on our 2013 Fantasy Second Base Prospects Rankings. Today's subject is our #2 fantasy shortstop prospect, the Red Sox' Xander Bogaerts.
Weight: 175 lbs.
On 40-man roster: No
Age as of 4/1/13: 20
Bogaerts was signed out of Aruba in 2009 by the Red Sox for just $410,000, and did not debut stateside until 2011. The Red Sox gave him an aggressive full season assignment, as he played the full season at Low-A at the age of 18. He really emerged as a result of the performance there, where he hit .260/.324/.509 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI in just 72 games there.
The Red Sox moved him up again to start the 2012 season, this time to High-A. He played 103 games there, hitting .307/.373/.523 with 20 home runs and 60 extra base hits in total. He was promoted to AA for the last month of the minor league season, appearing in 23 games as a 19 year old there. While a small sample size, his offensive production was even better, hitting .326/.351/.598 with 5 home runs and 15 extra base hits in total.
What's Stopping Him From Contributing Now?
Bogaerts realistically needs more time at shortstop if the long term goal is to keep him at the position. The scouting reports I have read point to a player who still has the potential to stay at shortstop, which has improved from previous years. The larger concern seems to be whether he will outgrow the position, which could conceivably happen. The determination of whether he stays at shortstop really doesn't impact his potential as a fantasy contributor though, as Bogaerts profiles as an elite offensive talent regardless of the position.
The other thing that was mentioned on many of the reports was that Bogaerts is expected to continue to work on his pitch recognition, but at the moment it really seems to be a bit of nitpicking. He posted a walk rate of 8% between the two levels in 2012, which seems more than respectable for a hitter with the power potential he has. Add in that he has reduced his strikeout rate substantially (from 24% to 18% in 2012), and you're looking at a player who could become a fantasy monster.
Realistically, the only competition in front of Bogaerts right now at the shortstop position is the extremely light hitting Jose Iglesias. While Iglesias is known for his defense, it remains to be seen if he will be able to hit enough to justify keeping him in the lineup.
What Could He Do For Fantasy Owners Once He Gets There?
Bogaerts is easily one of the top fantasy prospects in all the minors right now. He profiles to provide excellent batting average (around .290), to go along with above-average to potentially elite power production (Think 25-30+ home runs). Bret mentioned Bogaerts as his potential RBI top performer in 2017, and I can very well see him providing both elite RBI and runs totals potentially. He is likely a top 5 performer at whatever position he ends up at, whether it is RF, 3B, or SS, and he could be the top shortstop if he stays at the position. Overall, the statistical profile Bogaerts could provide would likely be a top 25 overall fantasy performer, with even more upside than that.
When Could He Arrive?
I wrote as a part of our top 10 shortstop prospect rankings that I thought Bogaerts could be in the Majors by the end of 2013, or 2014 really at the latest. He'll start the 2013 season back at AA, and it would not surprise me at all if he were at AAA by the All-Star break. I think that he legitimately could be the starting shortstop for the Red Sox come Opening Day 2014.
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