Xander Bogaerts called up to Boston on Monday, started against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. He accomplished what I can only describe as the triple crown of baseball achievement, jumping from Portland Double-A, to Pawtucket Triple-A, and finally to the Boston Red Sox all in one season. Portland’s program and pocket schedule still feature Bogaerts on the front cover. Bogaerts exceeded all expectations that the PR department set in Portland.
Many of us felt Bogaerts would play for the Boston team at some point this season, but I didn’t see that happening until September. The more I think about it, the more I realize my analysis might have been a bit off. August is a better month. Manager John Farrell can get a sense of where Bogaerts fits in to the mix right now. Waiting till September would be too risky. In September you cannot be fast and loose in your decision making.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Bogaerts. Will he take Stephen Drew’s place? Drew put together some quality at-bats over the last few games, but does he have Xander’s magic? Drew is more solid defensively than Bogaerts, so I have to assume that Farrell is testing the waters now to see if Bogaerts can make a go of it in September.
He has the potential to be the offensive catalyst that the Red Sox need to win games. The offense needs an early spark to get ahead, and Bogaerts may be the spark we need. The Red Sox seem to get ahead quickly, or struggle for the win in later innings. If the Red Sox can set the pace early, maintain the offensive momentum at the beginning of the game, then they will have less to worry about defensively, too. If Bogaerts can work his magic, less pressure will be placed on the pitching staff. This is very much needed at this time due to Ryan Dempster’s suspension.
Clearly there is a lot riding on the decision to bring Bogaerts up. The right time is now because of the alignment of many variables, such as inter-league play and the suspension. Drew has some assets, as does Bogaerts. Right now the team needs to work on its offensive dominance. Let’s see if Bogaerts can improve the Sox offense, and perhaps, get the team closer to post-season baseball.