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Present and future collide as Xander Bogaerts eagerly welcomes Red Sox’ top draft pick Marcelo Mayer

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (left), in the midst of his ninth year with the Red Sox and third All-Star appearance, greets Boston's top pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, California high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer, on Monday in Denver.Peter Abraham/Globe Staff

DENVER — Here in the Mile High City, Xander Bogaerts stands at the pinnacle of his profession.

He will start at shortstop and hit third for the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night after leading the Red Sox to a 55-36 record at the break.

A third World Series ring before the age of 30 is in his reach.

“What can I do next? Keep winning,” Bogaerts said on Monday. “That’s it. I want championships. I’ve proven what I can do on the field.”

As Bogaerts took questions from a succession of reporters, another tall shortstop in a Red Sox jersey and a fresh-out-of-the-box cap, 18-year-old Marcelo Mayer, sat about 20 yards away holding an orange Gatorade.


The Sox took Mayer with the fourth pick of the amateur draft on Sunday night. MLB invited him to Coors Field with a few of the other first-round picks, and of course he accepted, jumping on a 7 a.m. flight from San Diego.

“It’s been a pretty incredible last 24 hours,” Mayer said. “All day I was hoping the Red Sox would be able to pick me, and it happened. I’ve been smiling ever since.”

Marcelo Mayer, who was taken in the first round by the Red Sox earlier in the week, was in Denver Monday for the All-Star festivities.Peter Abraham

As the press conference broke up, Bogaerts and fellow Sox All-Stars Matt Barnes, Rafael Devers, Nate Eovaldi, and J.D. Martinez began making their way down the sidewalk toward the ballpark.

“Is that the kid we took in the draft?” Bogaerts asked, seeing Mayer.

Bogaerts veered off and threw his right arm around Mayer’s shoulders, welcoming him to the organization. They chatted for a few minutes before Bogaerts had to go.

“See you soon,” Bogaerts said, bumping fists with the player who could one day succeed him.

Then again, they said that about Jose Iglesias. The Red Sox also pushed Bogaerts to third base for a few months in 2014 to play Stephen Drew at shortstop. They were some other pretenders to the throne along the way.


“I had to prove myself,” Bogaerts said. “It meant a lot for me to play shortstop. But here I am, right?”

Bogaerts is one of the best-hitting shortstops in the game, a power threat who also hits for average, but defensive metrics suggest he is one of the worst defensive shortstops. Bogaerts acknowledges the first month of the season was a bad one, but feels improvement has been made since.

“I make the plays I should,” Bogaerts said. “Maybe I’m not making all the diving or leaping catches some guys do. But I’m there when I’m supposed to be.”

Barnes offered a more passionate defense.

“Xander plays practically every day and has for years. He’s one of the best hitting shortstops around and he’s played for two World Series teams,” he said. “I’m a pitcher and there’s nobody else I’d want on the field behind me.”

Xander Bogaerts is one of five members of the Red Sox who will represent the American League.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

By the time Mayer is ready for the majors, Bogaerts could be at a point where another position makes sense. But that’s nothing to worry about now.

Mayer didn’t seem out of place in a crowd of All-Stars. He’s one of those uncommonly talented high school players who has traveled the country playing in showcase events. He carries himself like a player who knows this is only the beginning.

Once he signs with the Sox — “I feel great about it. I want to report as soon as possible and make my way through the organization,” he said — Mayer will understand what the job entails. He’s been preparing for this for years.


Mayer already feels at home with the Sox to some extent. He has played a lot against second baseman Nick Yorke, the team’s first-round pick last season.

Told that the Sox invited Yorke to major league training last season, Mayer’s eyes lit up.

“Super excited to play with him,” Mayer said. “Great hitter, great kid. Hopefully we can turn double plays for a long time.”

The one area of the country Mayer hasn’t visited is New England. The closest he’s come is North Carolina, which isn’t very close at all.

“Super excited to get to Boston and see the city and see Fenway Park,” Mayer said. “I get chills through my body thinking about it. Fenway’s great, right?”

Yes, he was assured, Fenway is great.

Mayer will soon be on his way to Florida to take more steps toward his dream. Bogaerts will head for New York for a big series against the Yankees.

Their paths will cross again soon enough.

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.