Xander Bogaerts shouldn’t spend another day in the minors.
Promoting Bogaerts to the majors seemed like a logical move as soon as the Red Sox sent Jose Iglesias packing just before the trade deadline. It makes even more sense as we get deeper into August.
Bogaerts might not be the superstar that everyone expects him to be immediately upon arriving in the majors, but he has the potential to be an impact player right away. Why wait any longer to cash in that lottery ticket?
On most nights, the Red Sox’ offense is in good shape. The unit leads the majors in a number of statistical categories, and it’s a huge reason why the Red Sox have been so successful this season. But then there are nights like Thursday, when the lineup gets shaken up and Boston can’t buy a run against a journeyman like Bruce Chen.
This isn’t to say that Bogaerts would have changed the outcome of Thursday’s game, which Boston lost 5-1, but the Red Sox have had issues against lefties this season. They were stymied by Matt Moore and David Price during a series against the Rays near the end of July, and Chen and Astros rookie Brett Oberholtzer both had their way with Boston this week. A right-handed bat capable of providing some extra pop could be beneficial when it comes to solving southpaws.
But the case for bringing up Bogaerts is even simpler than that. No matter how you slice it, Bogaerts is the best third base option available to the Red Sox.
Brock Holt and Brandon Snyder have served in a third base platoon since Iglesias was traded to Detroit in the deal that brought Jake Peavy to Boston. Holt is hitting .125 (3-for-24) since the trade, Snyder is hitting .200 (2-for-10) and neither player has gone deep. Both Holt and Snyder have helped the Red Sox win ballgames this season, so we shouldn’t completely discredit their contributions. But neither infielder offers the upside, game-changing ability, possible spark and overall skill that Bogaerts provides.
Bogaerts has produced at every level of the minors, including Triple-A, where he’s hitting .275 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs in 49 games since being promoted from Double-A Portland in June. His power is obvious, his plate discipline has improved drastically and he has gained experience down at the hot corner, which is where he’d fit in with the current big league club. It’s time for the Red Sox to take off the training wheels and at least see what they have, as the potential advantages of such a move far outweigh the disadvantages.
Yes, Bogaerts is 20 years old. Yes, the Red Sox are in the midst of a pennant race. And yes, the Red Sox’ offense could probably survive with a Holt/Snyder platoon or Will Middlebrooks, who is also in the third base discussion. But if you have a chance to make your team even more dynamic, more dangerous and more difficult to face down the stretch and into the postseason, shouldn’t you go for it?
The Red Sox are already eyeing a deep playoff run. They just can’t say that they’re officially “all in” until they give Bogaerts a shot to make an already good team that much better.