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Xander Bogaerts

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Xander Bogaerts on March 2, 2013.jpg

Xander Jan Bogaerts

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 185 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Xander Bogaerts made the majors in 2013 at age 20. His twin brother Jair Bogaerts has played professionally.

Xander signed with the Boston Red Sox in August 2009; the scout was Mike Lord. He debuted with the 2010 DSL Red Sox and hit .314/.396/.423, leading his club in average, hits (75), homers (3), RBI (42), total bases (101), slugging and OPS. He was 5th in the Dominican Summer League in RBI and tenth in total bases. He fielded .929 at short. The next year, at age 18, he was playing in a full-season league and more than holding his own with a .260/.324/.509 batting line for the Greenville Drive, fielding .924 and homering 16 times in 72 games. Baseball America named him as the #10 prospect in the South Atlantic League, between fellow Dutch national Jonathan Schoop and A.J. Cole.

He then joined the Dutch national team for the 2011 Baseball World Cup. In the Netherlands' historic run to the Gold Medal, he got into three games as the backup shortstop behind another minor league prospect, Didi Gregorius. Bogaerts went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run after replacing Gregorius in a 19-0 romp of Greece. Replacing Bryan Engelhardt as DH in a 5-4 loss to Team Canada, he was 0 for 2 with a walk and a RBI. His bases-loaded walk from Mark Hardy in the 7th forced in Gregorius with the tying run to make it 3-3. With a 4-4 tie in the 10th, two on and two out, he was retired by Jimmy Henderson. His only start came in a 12-2 win over Venezuela, going 2 for 4 with a run and a RBI as the shortstop. In the Gold Medal game, the Netherlands only used Gregorius at SS.

He started the 2012 season with the Salem Red Sox of the Carolina League, where he hit .302/.378/.505 in 104 games. He was promoted to the Portland Sea Dogs of the AA Eastern League in early August, and hit .326/.351/.598 in 23 games against the higher level of competition. He was selected to play for the World Team in the 2012 Futures Game, hitting 5th and playing DH. He struck out against Gerrit Cole in the second, singled off Danny Hultzen in the third, whiffed versus Tyler Skaggs in the 5th and grounded out against Alex Meyer in the 8th. Xander was named the Carolina League Player of the Year by Topps (Dan Black was the league MVP), the Carolina League All-Star shortstop and was named the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year. Between the two clubs, his batting line read .307/.373/.523 in 127 games, with 37 doubles, 3 triples, 20 homers and 81 RBI. He tied Keury De La Cruz for second in the Red Sox chain in home runs (behind Mauro Gomez) and for 4th in average and was third in RBI (behind De La Cruz and Travis Shaw). In the Carolina League, he was 4th in average, 4th in OBP and second to Shaw in slugging. Baseball America ranked him as the top Red Sox prospect, as the #8 prospect in baseball and #2 in the Carolina League (between Dylan Bundy and Matt Barnes). They also listed him as Boston's best power prospect and best athlete. He went to training camp with the Red Sox as their youngest player the next spring.

He was a member of the Netherlands national team at the 2013 World Baseball Classic; this time, he started for them, replacing the injured Yurendell De Caster as the starter at third base early in the tournament (Andrelton Simmons manned short, Bogaerts' usual spot). He went 5 for 19 with two doubles, three walks, a run and a RBI in 7 games as the Netherlands surprisingly made it to the semifinals. In the semifinal 4-1 loss to the eventual champion Dominican national team, Bogaerts was back on the bench, with Schoop starting at third and Simmons at short; Schoop had been playing 2B until then but Xander lost his spot when another top minor league prospect, Jurickson Profar, was added for the final round.

He began the 2013 season at Portland, where he hit .311/.407/.502 in 56 games. He was selected to play for the World Team in the 2013 Futures Game, his second appearance in the showcase. This time, he got two of the three World hits as their top batter. Playing shortstop and hitting third for the World, he singled off Noah Syndergaard with two outs in the first. With Miguel Sano at the plate, Bogaerts was caught stealing second by Austin Hedges. In the 4th, he singled off Anthony Ranaudo for the final World hit. He took second on a wild pitch, third on a grounder by Henry Urrutia and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Lennerton to make it 2-1, World; the US would score three unanswered runs after that. Bogaerts struck out facing Eddie Butler in the 6th then walked against Kyle Crick in the 9th.

After playing a few games for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in April, he moved up for good in mid-June and continued to hit the ball with authority while also seeing his first minor league action at third base (he had played shortstop exclusively outside of the Dutch national team until then), in preparation for the expected needs of the big league club. In 60 games at Pawtucket, his batting line stood at .284/.369/.453; between the two minor league stops, he had accumulated 23 doubles, 6 triples and 15 homers in 116 games before getting the call to Boston on August 19th, a couple of weeks after the Red Sox had traded another top shortstop prospect, José Iglesias, in recognition that Bogaerts was the real deal. His performance got him named the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award. He sat on the bench on his first day in Boston, but was in the starting line-up at shortstop on August 20th at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Hitting 7th and playing shortstop, he went 0 for 3 with a strikeout as the Sox lost, 3-2. He grounded out against Ryan Vogelsong in his first major league at-bat, grounded out again in the third and whiffed in the 6th. He was replaced by Stephen Drew in a double switch in the bottom of the sixth. He was the first Aruban to play for the Red Sox. His first major league hit came on August 24th, a 9th-inning single off Brandon League of the Los Angeles Dodgers after coming into that game after another double switch. He hit his first career homer on September 7th, a two-run blast off the New York Yankees' Jim Miller that left no doubt as to its final destination as soon as it left his bat. While he played relatively sparingly the rest of the way, going 11 for 44 in 18 games, he became a starter during the postseason, replacing Will Middlebrooks at third base as the latter was slumping in the ALCS. Bogaerts showed excellent plate discipline and a live bat to keep the job. When a hit a triple in Game 3 of the 2013 World Series against Joe Kelly of the Cardinals, he became the third youngest player to have a three-base hit in the history of the Fall Classic, after Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle. As Tim McCarver commented: "Anytime your name is mentioned in the same sentence as Cobb and Mantle, that's a good thing." He was 5 for 21 with the triple, two runs, two RBI, a walk and eight whiffs in the Series, which Boston won.

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