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Red Sox have put Xander Bogaerts in right position

Xander Bogaerts was switched to third base when the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew in early June to play shortstop.

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Xander Bogaerts was switched to third base when the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew in early June to play shortstop.

BALTIMORE – Deven Marrero. Remember that name.

In about a year, he’s going to be in the next debate involving the Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

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I have yet to find anyone who would say that Bogaerts is a better defensive shortstop than Marrero. In fact, one scout who recently finished up work with Boston’s Double-A Portland team indicated, “It’s not even close.”

Marrero is a slick-fielding shortstop who probably has a lapse in concentration once in a while, according to the scout. Like most kids at this age (23) and that position, he needs a little more work on his hitting, though .265, 31 RBIs, a .352 OBP, and .744 OPS isn’t bad. He’s also an excellent base-stealer - 11 in 14 attempts.

So unless Marrero flames out, the Red Sox really have correctly defined where Bogaerts should be in the future – third base. The Red Sox could always deal Marrero, but why wouldn’t they want him to be the future at that position considering his defensive ability plus enough offense to make him a very good major league player.

Instead of having a yo-yo effect of switching Bogaerts between short and third when the inevitable position will likely be third, the Red Sox did the right thing re-signing Stephen Drew to play shortstop this season and using Bogaerts exclusively at third,

There’s no doubt that Bogaerts can be an everyday major league shortstop, but his strength is his offense. And if you have this pure shortstop in Marrero, why not maximize your talent pool?

The other player affected is Will Middlebrooks. If he starts to hit again after he returns from the disabled list, I would guess the Red Sox would begin to use him at different positions, whether it be first base, designated hitter, or outfield.

He’s a tough guy to give up on. Just look at his career numbers to this point: in 686 major league at-bats (and to put this into context, there were four players with 650 or more at-bats in major league baseball last season), Middlebrooks has hit 34 homers and driven in 112 runs.

If you adjust that over a full year (say 585 at-bats) that still comes to an average year of 29 homers and 95 RBIs. That’s excellent power.

These are good problems to have.

But at age 21, Bogaerts should now settle in at third.

Follow Nick Cafardo on Twitter at @nickcafardo.
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