The Red Sox are excited about Xander Bogaerts, and with good reason. Named the No. 5 overall prospect in baseball by ESPN, the shortstop has already shown enough as a teenager to suggest he’s a future big league star.
But one tool rises above the others, and if history is any indication, it’s the skill Bogaerts will ride to the majors — his power.
As a 19-year-old between high Single A and Double A last year, Bogaerts blasted 20 homers. That may not sound otherworldly, but it’s actually a magic number. Since 1995, only 37 teenagers have reached 20 homers in the minors (a handful did it twice), and many of them went on to become big league stars.
If we just break down the numbers from 1995-2009 (giving the recent teen bombers more time to reach the majors), some clear patterns emerge.
Historically, about 10 percent of all minor leaguers become big leaguers. But of the 30 players to hit 20 homers as teens over that 15-year stretch, 23 reached the majors (76.7 percent) and seven (23.3 percent) became All-Stars — headlined by Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Giancarlo Stanton — and another seven produced either a 20-homer season or solid careers in general.
When one considers what Bogaerts has already accomplished at a young age, it’s easy to understand why the Red Sox think so highly of a future with him in it.
“The current results are probably more a reflection of the talent level and power he has had since we signed him,” said assistant general manager Mike Hazen yesterday. “How he continues to evolve as a hitter from an approach standpoint will drive his future success at the upper levels and in the majors.”
Consider some of those before Bogaerts. Fielder hit 27 homers at Single A in 2003, and then blasted 50 in the major leagues four years later. Stanton launched an absurd 39 bombs at age 18 in 2008, and already has 93 homers in the majors. Derrek Lee emerged with 23 homers at age 19 in 1995; he made two All-Star teams and won a batting title.
Power X-factor for Xander Bogaerts
Boston Herald | Feb 7