Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts both have put themselves in prime position to become the future of Boston baseball, but let’s look at how their roads to Yawkey Way differed.
Bogaerts was signed as an international free agent in 2009 from Aruba. Xander put pen to paper on a contract with the Red Sox at the age of 17 years old. Bogaerts then proceeded to fly through the Boston farm system, and after three seasons, Xander found himself as the Red Sox #1 prospect. ‘X’ retained that title for the following season, and burst onto the scene in 2013, playing a role in the World Series run by the Sox. After a sub-par 2014 season slashing 0.240/0.297/0.362 he bounced back in a big way for the 2015 season, slashing 0.320/0.355/0.421 and earned himself the Silver Slugger honors for shortstop.
Bogaerts proved doubters wrong and showed that he will be a big part of the new age of shortstops coming to the forefront of the MLB soon. So far the power numbers haven’t shown themselves, but with a 6’3” frame, Bogaerts will be denting the Monster soon enough.
Betts is an avid bowler and a Nashville-born 5th round selection by Boston in the 2011 draft. A shortstop at the time, he needed to find a way to prove himself. Mookie found himself behind Xander in all of the Red Sox’s future plans, so he transitioned to second base. Again, he fell behind fan favorite Dustin Pedroia with a tough road ahead in terms of playing time, but he made the best of it. In 2014, Mookie was ready for the big leagues, and after moving to the outfield, he seemed to find himself a permanent home in the shadows of the Green Monster. Boston fans soon learned that Betts can beat you with his glove, his bat (At 5’9”, Mookie has very sneaky and explosive power, totaling 18 homers in 2015) or his speed, which makes him a perfect fit as a top-of-the-lineup outfielder .
Unlike Xander, Betts was never the blow-you-away prospect in the organization. Mookie’s best prospect ranking was in 2013, where he was ranked 16th in the entire Boston system.
Regardless of their different roads to the starting nine of the Red Sox, you can expect both Betts and Bogaerts to be at the top of the lineup for years to come. The Boston farm system has very strong talent on the way, and in a few seasons, they could be even more of a powerhouse than people expect already. With players like catcher Blake Swihart, and prospects like Michael Chavis and Yoan Moncada making more and more progress each year, the Sox could be everybody’s best type of nightmare- too many talented players and not enough places to put them.
Cover Photo via The Boston Globe
Gifs via MLB.com (x2), and SB Nation