It’s been nearly nine years since the Boston Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs and they still have been unsuccessful in either developing or acquiring another reliable longterm shortstop.
The Red Sox have had seven different Opening Day shortstops over the past nine seasons.
But things might be changing. Three of the top 10 Red Sox prospects, ranked by Baseball America, are shortstops. They are Xander Bogaerts (top ranked), Jose Iglesias (9th) and Deven Marrero (10th).
You’ve seen the 23-year-old Iglesias’ stellar defense but questionable offense during stints with Boston.
You’ve probably read here and elsewhere about the 20-year-old Bogaerts’ explosive swing at Double-A Portland. Baseball America ranked Bogaerts the game’s eighth best prospect but he still must improve his defense and there are questions whether he could outgrow the position.
And then there is Marrero, who you’ve probably read and heard little about.
Marrero, Boston’s first-round pick (24th overall) last June, is an intriguing solution at shortstop. He is considered an above average defender and has been developing a more disciplined offensive approach since entering pro ball.
He doesn’t play defense as well as Iglesias or slug like Bogaerts but his overall game arguably is best of the three.
Here’s one possible scenario, especially if Iglesias’ offense never develops.
Bogaerts wins the starting shortstop job next year, then moves to third base or a corner outfield position when Marrero is ready to assume the starting shortstop position.
The 6-1, 195-pound right-handed hitting Marrero is batting .294 with a .400 on-base percentage in 51 at-bats for the Single-A Salem Red Sox. Right now, he’s on the seven-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
“I try to hit the ball straight up the middle,” Marrero said by phone Thursday. “I can pull the ball and can take the ball to all fields, but I’m kind of a doubles guy. Just get on base for the guys behind me to drive me in. Really that’s my game: to get on base and to hit balls into the gaps.”