Ah yes, finally… we all get to see if the Xander Bogaerts hype is indeed real. Fantasy owners who were able to afford a roster spot for the Aruba native over the last month have been patiently waiting for the day where they could insert one of baseball’s top prospects into their fake baseball lineups.
After a 9-6 loss to the New York Yankees – in the spotlight of Sunday Night Baseball where they lost more than just a game to their arch rivals and following 7th loss in their last 10 games (on way to their third straight losing series) – the Boston Red Sox needed a shake-up.
Boston made a series of moves early this morning, but no bigger name will be stitched on to a Sox jersey than Bogaerts – just in time for the start of a West Coast trip that will see the Red Sox play a weekend series with the Dodgers.
Bogaerts has split time equally across two minor league levels this season, playing 56 games with Double-A Portland before being promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. In 60 games with Class A, the 20-year-old had a respectable .284 batting average with a .369 on-base percentage and nine home runs, while producing a .453 slugging percentage. In three fewer plate appearances in Double-A, Bogaerts hit .311 with a .407 OBP, six homers and a .503 slugging percentage.
Xander comes in as a natural shortstop but has started nine games of AAA ball at third base where he out-played recent call up Will Milddlebrooks, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he comes in and outplays him again (despite Middlebrooks having a great week). However, it’s more likely that Bogaerts will provide a break to Stephen Drew who has started 25 straight games at shortstop with only two days off since the All-Star break. Drew experienced a 12-game hitting streak over that time, but has cooled off of late with only three hits over his last six games and is only batting .245 in 93 games this season.
The Red Sox are 15-13 since the All-Star break and as of today have seen their lead in the AL East shrink to one game with the Tampa Bay Rays on their heels. The Sox haven’t had much from third or short this year and they are hoping that Bogaerts (much like Manny Machado did for the Orioles last season) can provide a spark needed to make a postseason push. If he does then there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t spark your fake baseball team as well.
The move to the big leagues for Bogaerts has been expected for quite some time, and good on the fantasy owners who grabbed him off the wire over the last month, but he’s still only owned in 18 percent of Yahoo! leagues at time of posting (and that number has gone up four percent in the past hour). So he’s still available for the taking in some leagues, but you better get on it because Bogaerts is a hot commodity that has adjusted quickly to every level of baseball to date.
After all, this is the kid the Philadelphia Phillies wanted for Cliff Lee and the Sox said… ah yeah, no thanks. Don’t be surprised if Bogaerts steps in and makes an impact right away for not only Boston, but for your fantasy baseball squad this season and for years to come. If you’re in a fantasy league looking to land a long-term keeper, ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya’.