We've already begun our encompassing look at the shortstop position with the release of our consensus top 30 shortstop for the 2014 season. We will not be releasing a top prospect list by position this year, so there is no list of top 20 shortstop prospects coming, for the simple reason that ranking them for position isn't likely to help a lot of fantasy owners. Instead, as a part of each position, the prospect staff will look at a few prospects at each position who could potentially have an impact during the 2014 season. Next up is our look at Red Sox' shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts.
Weight: 185 lbs.
On 40-Man Roster: Yes
Options Remaining: 3
DOB: 10/1/1992 (Age 21 Season)
The Scouting Report
Andrew Ball wrote up Bogaerts as a part of our MLKT series, where he ranked Bogaerts as the top fantasy prospect in the Red Sox' organization, and had this to say:
At the plate, Bogaerts exudes confidence and hits for power without selling out, instead using an easy, fluid swing and plus bat speed to translate his raw power into games. While his recognition skills are still developing, they already are quite strong for a young player and he should be able to keep a 100 point difference between his average and on-base percentage. Bogaerts is a special talent, a potential middle-of-the order force and a perennial All-Star, and he might just do that at shortstop.
Bogaerts played third base during the playoffs, based on what the team needed at the time, and could potentially slot in there. However, unless the team ends up re-signing Stephen Drew, he'll likely stay at shortstop, which was considered unlikely a couple seasons ago. Defensively he has improved to the point where it is not a given that he will need to move from shortstop in the short or long term, and should be solid there.
What's Keeping Him From Contributing Now?
At this point, it seems that he just needs to be officially given a job. He took over at third base in the playoffs, and it's entirely possible he could play there or at shortstop this season.
When Could He Arrive?
Bogaerts is already here, and it would be a complete shock to everyone involved if he isn't on the major league roster on Opening Day. He would currently slot in as the starting shortstop, and could see time at third base as well.
What Can He Do When He Gets There?
Ah, the dreams. It's entirely possible that Bogaerts hits .290-.300 with 20-25 home runs and 80+ runs batted in over a full season of at bats. There's still the potential for even more than that, which is the scary part. I believe that this year we are looking at a slightly less powerful line, hitting in the .280 range with around 20 home runs, which is still an extremely good line from a shortstop.
I have Bogaerts as my #8 shortstop for the 2014 season, and he will be my #1 overall fantasy prospect when we release our consensus top 200 list later in the month. He has the potential to be a fantasy monster, worthy of being drafted in the first round every year, given his strong four category production at the shortstop position. He won't qualify there initially in most leagues, but should have eligibility there before too long. He is an absolute must target in all keeper and dynasty formats, and I will be targeting him in redraft leagues as well.
Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonsbaseball