The Red Sox had eight different Opening Day shortstops from 2004 to 2013.

Then, Xander Bogaerts came along and drew the nod for nine straight years, amassing five Silver Slugger awards, four All-Star selections and two World Series titles in a highly successful Boston tenure.

That stability was especially important because the Red Sox concurrently began dealing with instability at second base, where Dustin Pedroia locked down 11 consecutive Opening Day starts from 2007 to 2017 before injuries finally derailed his career. Boston had five different Opening Day second basemen over the last six years. That includes Trevor Story, who since moved back across the bag to replace Bogaerts following the latter’s departure.

Vaughn Grissom likely will join the list in 2024, with Red Sox manager Alex Cora acknowledging last week at spring training in Fort Myers that the 23-year-old has an opportunity to “run away” with the second-base job.

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The organization’s hope, clearly, in acquiring Grissom from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for longtime ace Chris Sale is the once highly touted prospect will offer a long-term solution to what recently has been a revolving door — much like Bogaerts did by the end of 2014.

“He’s physical,” Cora told reporters at JetBlue Park last week while discussing Grissom. “There was a physical shortstop here in 2013 and he grew into what he is right now. I think body-wise, if you compare Vaughn and Xander, they’re very similar. Actually, he’s probably a little bit stronger at this stage than when Xander was, what, 23, so hopefully, he can get stronger and be as good a player as Xander is.”

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Patience is required, of course. And to expect Grissom to replicate Bogaerts’ résumé in Boston would be outrageous. Two different players. Two different positions. Two different situations. An entirely different Major League Baseball, for that matter.

But the point remains: There’s a new young infielder for the Red Sox to be excited about. And there are some similarities between him and Bogaerts.

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“I think body-wise, if you compare Vaughn (Grissom) and Xander (Bogaerts), they’re very similar.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora

Like their respective statures, for instance. (Grissom is listed at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and Bogaerts is listed at 6-foot-2, 218 pounds.) Or Grissom’s evolving skill set relative to Bogaerts’ at this stage of his young career.

“I think in the future, (Grissom’s) going to be one of those guys who hits for average early in his career, and he’s going to keep building up and keep getting stronger and he’s going to hit homers,” Cora said. “I’m very excited about him.”

Sound familiar?

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Bogaerts hit just 19 home runs over his first 300 career regular-season games. He was a contact hitter, compiling 196 hits and a .320 average in 2015. But the power started to develop in 2016 — his first All-Star season — when Bogaerts hit 21 home runs. Eventually, he launched a career-high 33 homers in 2019, a year that culminated with a career-best .939 OPS and a fifth-place finish in American Leage MVP voting.

Will Grissom reach those heights? Maybe not. Bogaerts was a consensus top-100 prospect before the 2012 season and later peaked as the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball after debuting in 2013. A star outcome seemed inevitable.

But Grissom has plenty of offensive upside, evident by the .330/.419/.501 line he posted in 102 games (468 plate appearances) at Triple-A last season and the .287/.339/.407 line he assembled in his first 64 MLB games (236 plate appearances) with Atlanta. There’s no reason he can’t become a solid, consistent regular — and perhaps more — with some fine-tuning.

Xander Bogaerts vs. Vaughn Grissom, first 64 MLB games:

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Xander Bogaerts vs. Vaughn Grissom, before 23rd birthday:


“He’s going to put the ball in play. He’s going to hit for average,” Cora said of Grissom. “We have to be very careful chasing for something and then losing his bat-to-ball skills. We do believe that the stronger he gets, mechanics-wise, there’s a few things sequencing-wise (Red Sox hitting coach Pete Fatse) has recognized. If we can get that, then we’re going to have the final product.”

Not to mention Grissom is better positioned to thrive in the field, moving from shortstop, where he was a below-average defender, to second base, where he’ll play alongside a savvy veteran in Story.

“He’s a good defender,” Cora said. “I know he had his struggles at shortstop in the past, but where he’s going to play, we do believe he’s going to be OK. And offensively, he’s going to do his thing.”

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Again, Vaughn Grissom isn’t Xander Bogaerts. And Xander Bogaerts isn’t Vaughn Grissom. But the former’s size and raw talent could lend itself to a few double takes in the years ahead.

Featured image via Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox