The left side of the infield has sparked controversy and uncertainty throughout this 2013 season for the Red Sox. Once thought a strong spot after Will Middlebrooks’ auspicious 2012 season, 3rd base has particularly become a concern, as 6 different Red Sox players have failed to properly fill the void. And when SS/3B Jose Iglesias packed his bags for Detroit as part of a pre-MLB deadline deal, the questions surrounding the third-base position have resurfaced once again.
After returning from a hamstring injury in mid-July, Stephen Drew has solidified his grip on the shortstop position as of late; his 2-home run game in Baltimore last Saturday has won the hearts of Red Sox nation for the time being. Boston will certainly not bet on Drew supplying the offense consistently, or even to continue his recent upswing, but his emergence brings at least some stability to the left side of the infield.
That leaves the young duo of Brock Holt–who was recently recalled from Pawtucket for the second time this year–and Brandon Snyder to split time at third base. The 26-year old Snyder has had limited success thus far, and might return to the minors soon. Holt, on the other hand, entertained a great stretch in the first half of July, to the point where his style and play drew comparisons to another hard-working Red Sock in Dustin Pedroia.
Holt was brought up to the majors as a result of the Iglesias trade, a curious choice by the Red Sox in part that they bypassed another viable option at third base: the Dutch speedster Xander Bogaerts. Many already believe it’s only a matter of time–weeks or even days–before Bogaerts gets called up. He’s been hitting .279 during his time with the PawSox, with 8 home runs, 24 RBI, and 23 runs, while hitting for better numbers in his earlier stint in Double-A.
Yet his own manager, Gary DiSarcina, believes Bogaerts would benefit by staying a little longer at the minor league level, as there’s still more room to develop before making the jump to Boston.
Nevertheless, we’ve witnessed several players under the age of 22 make the leap unorthodoxly early in the last year or two. Guys from Mike Trout to Yasiel Puig have flourished from the get-go, and have exhibited precocious developments of starpower. Regardless, even if the 20-year old struggles, optioning him back to the minors creates no extra burden.
The Red Sox may not have a comfortable situation in dealing with third base, but they’re certainly not at a lack for options. As the team looks to both retain their current rate of success and continue to improve, letting a burst of energy in Xander Bogaerts tag along the ride would be a clever move, if not simply a reasonable shot.