Brian Farley has heard the recent hype at World Series about Boston Red Sox phenom, 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts, and he is not surprised.
The Methuen native was managing the 2011 Netherlands national team to an incredible victory over Cuba in the World Cup in Panama — becoming only the second European team to win the title — when Bogaerts, only 19 at the time, was a backup infielder.
Everything being said about Bogaerts’ maturity now was being said about it two years ago.
”Xander didn’t play that much because we had some great middle infielders, some of whom are already very good major leaguers,” said Farley. “We had Didi Gregorius (with the Diamondbacks). We had a lot of talent on that team. But what strikes you the most about (Bogaerts) was his maturity and the way he goes about his business. Despite being this incredibly gifted young player, he was very team-oriented. ”
Bogaerts, according to Farley, has some maturity on the field, too, particularly when it comes to seeing pitchers. In fact, that has gotten as much play this postseason as his age and ability.
“His overall command of the strike zone is incredible, especially for his age,” said Farley.
“As long as I’ve known him, he just doesn’t expand the strike zone. He rarely chases bad pitches.”
Farley did recall one particular at-bat at the 2011 World Cup against Canada.
”It was late in the game. Xander was pinch-hitting,” said Farley. “He drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game up, which we eventually lost. But, he saw about nine pitches. That walk he had against (Max) Scherzer (of the Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS) was amazing. That’s Xander.”
As for Bogaerts defense, Farley wasn’t able to assess that part of his game as much. But with his athleticism, he expects Bogaerts defense to not be a problem as he ages in the majors.