Boston RedSox Hitting Prospects: Does Bogaerts Have the X-Factor?


Our Seedlings to Stars series of  “STAT-Scan” statistical year-in-review articles hauls the scanner up to New England to zero in on Boston RedSox hitters.

Each player is assigned a “Plate Skills Index,” which is based on the ability to “win plate appearances” (described in detail here), a “Production Index,” based on the ability to produce offense (described in detail here), and a “Composite Index,” which is a combination of the two.  Additional detail on “the three numbers,” with some examples, can be found here.

High Alert:

Xander Bogaerts, SS (S2S Top 115 #10) … Age: 19, Levels:  High-A, AA

Xander Bogaerts flashed huge potential in 2012. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY Sports

Plate Skills: 95 Production: 114 Composite: 109

Bogaerts will be on the roster of The Netherlands for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, and, obviously, his .523 SLG at High-A and AA at age 19 has earned him plenty of notice.  Bogaerts slammed out 37 doubles and 20 HR, after sending 16 over the wall at age 18 in 2011.  Don’t worry that his “Plate Skills” number isn’t off the chart.  For a young shortstop with power, his numbers are plenty impressive.  If he sticks at short, he has massive potential.

Will Middlebrooks, 3b … Age: 23, Levels: AAA, MLB

Plate Skills: 121  Production: 151  Composite: 172

Middlebrooks will be an interesting test case.  His power is clear, but, until his 24 games at Pawtucket this year, his overall minor-league numbers are not inspiring … primarily due to a low walk rate and high strikeout rate.  In 2011 and 2010, his Plate Skills Index was in the 60s (over 100 is good).  Of course, he went to the majors and looked like a budding star (15 HR, .509 SLG).  Will he be able to keep it up with that very low walk rate?  My numbers say he’ll have a hard time, but we’ll see.

On the Radar:

Travis Shaw, 1b … Age: 22, Levels:  High-A, AA

Plate Skills: 136  Production: 131  Composite: 167

Lefty-hitting Shaw crushed the High-A Carolina League to the tune of .305/.411/.545 (31 doubles, 16 HR, 59 walks), before getting the call to AA, where his power dipped, but he continued to show strong Plate Skills.  Shaw also showed impressive Plate Skills in 2011, so the main question is whether he’ll have enough pop to make it at 1b in the majors.

Jackie Bradley, OF (S2S Top 115 #42) … Age: 22, Levels:  High-A, AA

Plate Skills: 142  Production: 113  Composite: 155

Like Shaw, Bradley got promoted to AA mid-season, and, like Shaw, his power dipped a bit after the call-up.  But, unlike Shaw, Bradley plays a “glove” position (CF), so his MLB chances are probably a lot higher.  Bradley led South Carolina to the national championship in college, and probably would have gone higher in the draft if not for a wrist injury.  Right now he looks like a very solid prospect.

Distant Early Warning:

Keury De La Cruz, OF … Age: 20, Levels:  Low-A, High-A

Plate Skills: 76  Production: 115  Composite: 91

Statistically, the RedSox didn’t display tons of promise in the low minors, but De La Cruz and his .533 SLG (37 doubles, 8 triples, 20 HR) were certainly eye-catching.  His potential is diminished somewhat by the fact that he appears to have been moved out of CF, and his walk rate remains quite low.

On the Whole:

The RedSox don’t show tons of hitting depth, but they have a handful of standout guys up and down the system.  Bogaerts is highly advanced for a teen middle infielder, and Bradley made the big leap forward that those who followed him in college could have anticipated.