Kansas City, MO, USA; World designated hitter Xander Bogaerts hits a single during the third inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE
With the minor-league regular season over, it's time to look back at what the farm has accomplished in 2012. The plan is go to team-by-team, as we did for our daily prospect updates, but this time around, we'll review by position, so you get a sense of where the Red Sox are strong and where they are lacking depth.
Sean Coyle, 2B
Coyle had a strong campaign at Low-A Greenville as a 19-year-old, when the league-average position player in the Sally was over 21. The second baseman hit .247/.362/.464, striking out in 24 percent of his plate appearances. That was the major issue with the season, but that was all in a relative sense. It did plague him a bit in 2012 as well, but in a way, it's a good sign he still struck out 24 percent of the time despite the promotion.
Coyle was not good at the start of the year, as he hit .211/.285/.343 in 62 games before the all-star break, with strikeouts coming 28 percent of the time. The second half went much better for him, though, as he looked like a player ready to be promoted to Double-A, despite what his overall season line might suggest. Coyle's .297/.355/.451 showing in his last 54 games came along with punch outs in about 20 percent of plate appearances, a drastic drop that could portend good things for Coyle's 2013.
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Bogaerts ended his year in Double-A, but the majority of his season was spent as a teenager in High-A Salem. Bogaerts didn't hit as well as his season line shows the whole time, but he had two ridiculous months that pushed his season up to its impressive conclusion of .302/.378/.505. This earned him a trip to Double-A Portland earlier than anyone expected him to be there. He recorded just under 100 plate appearances there, but they were great ones, with Bogaerts hitting .326/.351/.598.
The one walk could be worrisome, but given he was 19 and in his second promotion of the year, in his first full-season campaign (Bogaerts played just 72 games in 2011, his first somewhere besides rookie ball), he can be forgiven. There's also the whole five homers and 15 extra-base hits in 23 games thing, so he can be forgiven for now.
Defensively, Bogaerts still isn't expected to stick at shortstop given he'll likely fill out as he ages, but he was much smoother there this past season. Even if it doesn't result in staying at the position, seeing him improve his defense is a positive for when he moves to another, less-demanding one.
Bogaerts will play at Double-A in 2013 as a 20-year-old, and like his approach was tested in High-A Salem, it will be challenged once more against more advanced pitching. Things have started out well enough, but he'll have to continue that. If things go right, though, as they did this year, maybe Bogaerts ends up in Triple-A much sooner than anyone believed he would.