While the Red Sox remain in first place in the AL East, they could use another bat against left-handed pitching. According to WEEI's Alex Speier, they're bringing that bat from within, as top prospect Xander Bogaerts is expected to join the club at the start of its west coast road trip on Monday.
Bogaerts is only 20 years old, and began the 2013 season at Double-A as the #8 prospect in the minors according to Baseball America, and moved to #4 in their mid-season top 50. Upon his promotion to Triple-A, he became the youngest player in the International League, and is now nearly the youngest player in the majors: he's two weeks older than the Nationals' Bryce Harper, and four months the elder of fellow shortstop prospect and honkbal teammate, Jurickson Profar.
He is unlikely to play every day, but he'll give the Red Sox a right-handed option at shortstop to spell regular Stephen Drew, or just as a bat to play against lefties, either by starting or pinch-hitting late. While he could play a game or two at third base, Will Middlebrooks has brought his seasonal OPS+ up 21 points since his August 10 recall, and, like Bogaerts, is expected to contribute against southpaws.
Just how Bogaerts will perform is a question, but he's managed to quickly adjust to any struggles at every level to this point: the 20-year-old Bogaerts put up a line of .284/.369/.453 in his 60 games at Triple-A, and only struck out 17 percent of the time despite his youth and inexperience against the advanced pitching of the upper minors.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Bogaerts -- as well as catcher David Ross, who returned from the 60-day disabled list and the concussion that put him there -- the Red Sox placed Clay Buchholz and Andrew Bailey on the 60-day DL. Utility infielder Brock Holt was optioned back to Pawtucket to make room on the big-league roster.