H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY
Xander Bogaerts takes the top spot in a landslide, pulling in 31 times as many votes as his nearest competitor.
There are victories, there are blowouts, and then there's what Xander Bogaerts did to the competition in our first round of voting.
Bogaerts, by a margin of better than 30:1, is about as clear a winner as can be. And while it's not surprising to see the talented young shortstop from Aruba take the top spot, seeing him do so in such convincing fashion is a bit of an eye-opener given that he has so regularly been regarded as part of the chart-topping group "The Three Bs".
Clearly, though, it is Xander, and then everyone else. And, frankly, that's kind of hard to argue with. A shortstop by trade--even if he is projected by many to eventually move to the outfield or third as he grows--Bogaerts plays at one of the most valuable positions in the game (catchers being the only ones who can compete). Not only did Bogaerts make a seamless transition to High-A Salem after playing all of 2011 in Greenville, he took a significant step forward, seeing everything but his home run rate trend in the right direction. And when he was promoted mid-year to Portland, he couldn't spare the time to draw any walks because he was too busy tearing the cover off the ball, hitting .326/.351/.598 in his limited time there.
And he did this before turning 20.
It's been a long time since the Sox have had this sort of player. They've had exciting prospects who have put up big numbers, sure, but when was the last time they had one who was pushed through the system at a breakneck pace and not only managed to hold their own, but excelled?
As it stands, Bogaerts could even see the majors before he's of legal drinking age. Of course, age isn't everything, but with Bogaerts performing so well so young, it's hard not to dream what he can do in that distant future when he reaches his physical prime with years of experience behind him. It's that dream that earned Bogaerts the top spot as much as anything.
Alright, now that we're done with the (apparently) easy top spot, let's move on to the rest. The voting method remains the same:
I'll name candidates in the comments below, and you rec the comment of the player you want to vote for. For those unfamiliar with how to go about that, just click "actions" underneath the comment and then "rec." Nice and easy, though you do have to be a member to join in.
On the off chance I forget or otherwise leave someone out, you are free to start your own voting thread for that player. I'll even give it a rec of my own to make up for your vote.