Xander Bogaerts’ new fame hasn’t impacted his work ethic.
Bogaerts, who is a star both in Aruba and in Boston following the Red Sox’ 2013 World Series victory, recently told Over The Monster’s Joon Lee that he’s completely focused on preparing for the 2014 season. Bogaerts’ preparation apparently includes working out with some fellow Aruba natives.
“We have a group of guys, most of the guys that are signed,”Bogaerts told Lee. “I don’t know even know how many guys we have signed in Aruba, maybe 15, maybe, probably 12 of us are working out together on a field here in Aruba. Curacao has had that going on for a lot of years now. All of the signed guys train together there, so we started it here.”
Bogaerts figures to be the Red Sox’ starting shortstop in 2014, unless the club re-signs Stephen Drew, in which case the rookie might also see playing time at third base. But while Bogaerts supplanted Will Middlebrooks as Boston’s starting third baseman in the postseason, he’s simply focused on becoming a better all-around defender this offseason so that he’s prepared for whatever the Red Sox throw his way.
“It’s not about [where I want to play], it’s about the decisions the team makes,” Bogaerts said. “It doesn’t matter if I am more comfortable playing shortstop. I played there my whole career — my minor league career — so it’s definitely something that I’m more used to, but it’s not about what I want, it’s what I need to do to help the team.”
Bogaerts — assuming he makes the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster — will look to build on an impressive postseason in which he batted .296 (8-for-27) with a .412 on-base percentage and nine runs scored in 12 games. Many experts project that Bogaerts, the No. 2 prospect in Major League Baseball, will someday become a superstar, although the 21-year-old doesn’t want to set expectations for himself.
“All I try to do is do the best I can,” Bogaerts said. “I don’t try to say that I’m going to hit 20 home runs, hit 30 home runs. All the work you put in the offseason, hopefully it pays off during the season. That’s all I think about.”
The Red Sox’ first full-squad spring training workout is scheduled for Feb. 20. Bogaerts told Lee that he expects to arrive in Fort Myers much earlier than that, however, as playing baseball is what he’s all about.
“It’s something that I definitely can’t wait for, coming back onto the field and starting to play again,” Bogaerts said. “Baseball is something that I love to do. Here in Aruba, I train in the morning and sometimes I go back in the afternoon and go practice again, always trying to get better.”
Bogaerts showed in October that he has tremendous poise on the diamond. When you couple that with Bogaerts’ skills and desire to improve, it’s obvious why everyone has sky-high expectations for the young infielder.