Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts gave the world a glimpse of his immense potential in 2013, particularly during Boston’s World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Bogaerts already has at least one honor for this year.
Bogaerts was ranked the top shortstop prospect in Major League Baseball for 2014 by MLB.com. Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs), Carlos Correa (Houston Astros), Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians) and Addison Russell (Oakland Athletics) round out the top five.
Bogaerts is one of six holdovers from last year’s list despite the Aruba native playing in 18 regular-season games and 12 postseason games with the Red Sox in 2013. The 21-year-old takes over the top spot while Texas Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar, who played in 85 major league games in 2013, graduates from the list.
Bogaerts, who turned 21 on Oct. 1, became the youngest Red Sox position player in 41 years when he made his MLB debut in August. Boston’s top prospect hit .250 (11-for-44) with a homer and five RBIs down the stretch while playing both shortstop and third base.
The Red Sox got their first real look at Bogaerts’ skill in the playoffs. Bogaerts, who took over at third base for a struggling Will Middlebrooks, hit .296 (8-for-27) with a .412 on-base percentage in the postseason. He started all six of the Red Sox’ World Series games.
It’s amazing to think that Bogaerts still is labeled a “prospect,” but that’s exactly the case. Bogaerts’ role likely will expand even further in 2014, as he’s expected to be the Red Sox’ Opening Day shortstop if Stephen Drew signs elsewhere in free agency.