BLUF: Offensive force with big power and an ultimate move to third base.
The Player: Xander Bogaerts (SS, Boston Red Sox) – Signed by the Red Sox in 2009, he made his debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2010. Posted a .314/.396/.423 line in 63 games in the DSL, showing intriguing power and a good concept of the strike zone. Pushed all the way to Low-A Greenville in 2011 as an 18-year old where he hit .260/.324/.509 with 16 home runs. Promoted to High-A Salem this year and has hit .288/.366/.488 in 77 games with 16 doubles and 12 home runs.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (SAL 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 180): Big, physical kid. Plus body. Very physically developed for age. Muscular and strong throughout. Maintains flexibility well. Has room to grow and thicken in lower half. Could bulk up through torso and arms. Potentially massive frame with tons of strength.
Hit: Quiet, balanced swing. Lower half has little movement and says in line and on balance throughout. Head doesn’t move through swing. Plus-plus bat speed with outstanding plate coverage. Can make contact on a variety of pitches. Struggles with quality breaking balls but can foul them off rather than swing through. Hands work well and he controls the barrel even when gearing up for power. Potential average to slightly above-average hitter long term. Grade – 30/50
Power: Outstanding bat speed. Can really drive the FB and can drive secondary pitches when he barrels them. Bat stays in zone a long time and has good loft in swing. Easy plus in-game power projection and true plus-plus raw power that could all translate to the game. Chance to hit 30+ home runs at his peak. Grade (raw power) – 60/70
Arm: Plus raw arm strength. Gets inconsistent with arm slot and footwork at times, leading to less zip on throws and a loss of accuracy. Should have true plus arm in time and can profile well at third base. Grade – 50/60
Fielding: Can handle SS right now. Good athlete and he moves well at the position. Has solid-average range to both sides and a high level of effort. Good hands and good first-step reactions. Range at SS is likely unsustainable given how body projects. Potential to be solid-average defender at 3B with good glove work and a plus arm. Grade – 30/50
Speed: Average runner down the line now, ranging from 4.28-4.37 in the games I scouted. Body doesn’t project to maintain speed and likely to end up below-average long term. Intelligent player and shouldn’t be a problem on the bases. Grade – 50/40
Summation: Surprising athlete that is very physically advanced for his age. Room to add more strength and has an outstanding power profile. Not a SS long term as range will diminish with physical maturity. Has hands, reactions and arm strength for third base and should be solid there. Needs to tighten strike zone but shows good barrel control, tons of bat speed and potential for plus-plus usable power. Potential run-producer that hits fourth or fifth in a big league lineup with .275+ average and 30+ home runs.
Relative Risk: High. Still extremely young and needs hitting ability to evolve to max level for power to fully develop. High risk with exceptionally high reward.
Future: Likely to spend the entire 2012 season in High-A and move on to Double-A in 2013. Despite rapid movement through Red Sox system, still looks on target for 2015 arrival in Boston. Could take a year or two to adjust to the speed of the big league game and may not be a true game-changing player until 2016 or so. Potential perennial All-Star with big time offensive numbers.