Spring training isn't over yet, but the World Baseball Classic, at least for the Netherlands, has ended. That means that Red Sox' top prospect Xander Bogaerts is on his way back to Florida from San Francisco, where the Netherlands were eliminated on Monday night by the Dominican Republic.
Bogaerts played in seven of the Netherlands' eight contests, racking up 19 at-bats and a line of .263/.364/.368. As with most small sample sizes, there are things to like (three walks and three strikeouts) and things to dislike (how come you didn't slug .600, Xander?!) It was good to see him play with the Netherlands in a competitive environment, since he was able to have some big at-bats in situations that actually meant something, rather than just as part of a split-squad effort facing some dude working on his fastball only because it was Tuesday and Thursday is curve ball day.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Bogaerts will see time at both shortstop and third base, where he played for the Netherlands. However, the time at third is simply to makes sure they can maximize his at-bats from here on out. While Bogaerts might have had meaningful plate appearances, he's about 30 behind fellow top prospect Jackie Bradley, who stayed behind in spring training rather than grace Team USA with his presence.
It's not clear how long Bogaerts will be up -- there will be more cuts after Wednesday's game against the Rays -- but, unlike Bradley, there's no question as to where he'll be beginning the year. Bogaerts has all of 23 games and 97 plate appearances at Double-A Portland under his belt, is just 20 years old, and shortstop at Triple-A will be filled by Jose Iglesias unless the latest on Stephen Drew turns out to be worse than expected.