BOSTON — Soaking in Derek Jeter’s final moments is a special experience. For a shortstop on the cusp of reaching the majors, it’s awe-inspiring.
Red Sox prospect Deven Marrero was at Fenway Park on Saturday as the organization recognized its 2014 minor league award winners. Marrero, who was named the Red Sox’s Minor League Defensive Player of the Year, received a taste of what he’s been striving toward his entire baseball life.
“It’s awesome, because that’s someone who I want to be. I want to be the Derek Jeter of the Red Sox,” Marrero said before the Red Sox’s game against the New York Yankees — the second-to-last contest of Jeter’s 20-year career. “That’s my goal. He does everything right. He plays the game hard and he’s a champion. That’s how I want to be. To see him finish out like this is so cool. I really wish I could have played with him on the same field, but I just want to continue his legacy. And hopefully, I can do that here in Boston.”
Marrero’s glove work has turned heads since he was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round (24th overall) in 2012. The 24-year-old posted a .976 fielding percentage (12 errors in 490 chances) in 116 games at shortstop between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. The question, of course, has been whether Marrero will produce enough offensively. He’s still a work in progress, but Marrero is working hard to answer that question in 2015 and beyond.
“I was rushing my at-bats. I was trying to do everything in just one swing in one at-bat,” said Marrero, who struggled with Pawtucket after showing offensive improvement with Portland. “You can’t do that. That’s what I learned. I learned to be patient and let the game come to me instead of going out there and trying to force it. That’s something I learned and that’s something I’ve been working on.”
Marrero finished the season hitting .258 with six homers, 59 RBIs, 16 stolen bases and a .327 on-base percentage between the two levels. He’ll need to improve on those numbers before earning a major league call-up, especially since he’s not currently on Boston’s 40-man roster, but Marrero already is taking a proactive approach. He’ll play for the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League, which begins play Oct. 7.
“Just to stay more consistent in every aspect of the game — defensively, offensively, baserunning,” Marrero said of his offseason focal points. “Just getting better — that’s what the minor leagues is all about — and hopefully put myself in a good position to be here and succeed.”
As for what it means to be the “Derek Jeter of the Red Sox?”
“It’s being a champion. That’s what he is for the Yankees — a champion,” Marrero said. “He won all those championships and he was the captain. He set a good example for those who are going to come up behind him.”
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