Xander Bogaerts has arrived.
The centerpiece in a jumble of roster moves usually reserved for the first of September, Xander Bogaerts, has been called up to the Boston Red Sox, reports WEEI.
Bogaerts – the top Red Sox prospect – was hitting .297 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs between double-A Portland and triple-A Pawtucket. While those numbers are, without any doubt, reason enough to call up the 20-year-old, it is Bogaerts’ slugging percentage that really sticks out: He’s slugging .477 overall. A damn good slugging percentage on its own, but, when paired with his high average and on-base percentage (.388), it shows the true prowess of Bogaerts offensive ability.
Xander Bogaerts is young (he’ll turn 21 two days after the regular season ends), but there is no doubt he is ready. Some people would even argue he never should have been in double-A this season, but the Red Sox organization had the space and flexibility to allow Bogaerts to at least start the year at Portland, the top minor-league level he’d played, where he’d played just 23 games in 2012.
Bogaerts has been the hot prospect everyone in Red Sox Nation has been talking about, the same way fans clamored for Will Middlebrooks early in 2012. His stock has only risen since the season began due to his performance. The dealing of Jose Iglesias – whose presence was Bogaerts’ main stumbling block to making the big club – only acted to further heighten the Nation’s expectation of a call-up. Over the last three weeks, Xander Bogaerts’ name has been on more Red Sox fans’ tongues than many players already on the active roster.
The call-up of Bogaerts comes on the heels of last weekend’s return of Middlebrooks. Fans and beat writers alike wondered if calling up Middlebrooks over Bogaerts was the right idea, but in the end, the Red Sox got both up to Boston, and both before roster expansion September 1.
Bogaerts – at least to begin with – will be fighting for playing time. If he performs like he has been all year, he could possibly work his way into a platoon, either with Stephen Drew or both Drew and Middlebrooks. Bogaerts newly acquired positional versatility (he plays third and second in addition to his natural position of shortstop) allows the flexibility in the infield for pitching match-ups both for setting lineups and for late-game changes.
Bogaerts’ arrival spells the end of Brock Holt’s tenure in Boston, at least for now. Every indication is that he will be back on September 1, after spending the majority of the year with Boston already. Bogaerts’ play throughout the year – if even slightly replicated in Boston – will equal a playoff roster spot. A likely situation to imagine is Xander Bogaerts making the playoff roster as a super utility player, and then dispelling a slumping Middlebrooks or Drew when their own playoff performance comes up short.
Xander Bogaerts is here, and all prior performances suggest he’s here to stay. The future is here. Welcome to Generation X.