BOSTON (CBS) – Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is only 21-years-old, and the team knew going into the season his development on defense would be farther behind than his offense, but one thing they were fairly confident in was his range at the position.
So far Bogaerts has not displayed the range necessary to play shortstop, and it’s becoming all too evident as the season progresses.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe weighed in on Bogaerts Monday morning with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich.
“Most 21-year-olds are playing in Double-A, if that. … When the Red Sox decided to commit to him they knew there was gonna be [mistakes] going on, that it wasn’t always going to be smooth and that his offense was gonna be ahead of his defense. That’s definitely the case. I think what’s surprising to [the Red Sox] is his range is not what they thought it could be, and he’s made some throws that haven’t been very good.
“That stuff they thought was gonna be okay just based on physical reasons: he’s pretty quick, he’s strong. They thought some of the mental aspects of playing short would take some time, but he’s made some bad throws and that’s a physical thing he should be able to fix pretty quickly.”
One thing Fred has noticed is Bogaerts struggles when having to go to his right and fielded a ball backhanded, which is clearly something he has to work on. Repetition and familiarity with batters is something he does not yet have, but will come with time.
“He can learn [to backhand]. I was talking to Dustin Pedroia about it, and he’s played with I think 9 or 10 shortstops since coming into the big leagues, and he said [Bogaerts] has to get used to watching guys over time and figuring out where he wants to play them. Anticipating what they’re gonna do makes it easier to make a play. He doesn’t have any of that information yet. He doesn’t have those instincts yet, and that’s gonna come as he sees teams more than once and figures out what’s going on in the big leagues.
“I think [Bogaerts] is smart enough and athletic enough to figure it out, the question is how long are the Red Sox going to wait for that to happen,” said Abraham.
Listen below for the full discussion, including MLB changing its controversial transfer rule, the starting pitching problem and the surging Yankees: