PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina on D&C: Xander Bogaerts needs more ‘marinating,’ but has similarities to Angels star Mike Trout
|08.01.13 at 12:57 pm ET|
Gary DiSarcina, the manager of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning, and after a whirlwind couple of days that featured plenty of rumors concerning some of the top players in his lineup, he was very complimentary of the big three, all of whom remained with the organization through Wednesday’s trade deadline: Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Much time and energy has been spent speculation when Bogaerts, the Red Sox’ top prospect, will be called up to the big leagues. While DiSarcina has been quite impressed with the 20-year-old shortstop training at third base, he did say Bogaerts “needs to marinate a bit more, he needs to have some seasoning.”
“This kid has so much going for him,” DiSarcina said, comparing him to Angels star Mike Trout more than once. “He’s such a great asset, a personality on the club. If you walked into this clubhouse and you told him, ‘Hey, Xander, we’re going to go play baseball on the moon today,’ he’s the first one on the ship.”
DiSarcina did, however, echo the sentiment John Farrell has of late: Bogaerts remains a work in progress, particularly with his defense. He needs to know where to be for relay throws, when a hit is a sure double and other fundamentals. The best thing for him at this point is more reps.
One of the questions surround Bogaerts is whether or not he, at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, will stick at shortstop. To that, DiSarcina compared the situation to two other big-bodied shortstops, Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter.
“It’s more than just hitting. He has to work on his baserunning, he has to work on his defensive stuff, his angles to baseballs, his decision-making. You can’t replicate that stuff in practice or in early work or those types of things. He has to play. He has to be in games. He has to be in situations.
“He’s been impressive, and for me watching him defensively, he’s a lot further along than I thought he was coming up from Portland. He’s just inconsistent in some of his decisions, but over the last 10 days he has gotten better.”
Meanwhile, Middlebrooks — perceived by some to being leapfrogged by Bogaerts on the organizational depth chart — also “needs to work on things,” according to DiSarcina.
“There has been a boatload of players that played for three months in the big leagues, had a great three months and got sent back down,” DiSarcina said. “He’s not unlike any other player. It just so happens he’s in the Boston market and all the other things that come with it.
“He needs to work on being consistent, coming to the plate every at-bat — not every four or five — but every at-bat. Have a good at-bat and good approach, stay focused, all those things. … It’s only normal and natural for him to have frustrations. But he’s on his way. He’ll be fine. I don’t have any worries about Will at all.”
DiSarcina’a gaudy comparisons didn’t stop with Bogaerts. He also compared Bradley, who is as highly touted for his defense as his bat, to eight-time Gold Glover Jim Edmonds.
“You get kind of used to him making great plays. He makes great plays look really, really routinely,” DiSarcina said. “He gets great jumps on balls. It reminds me a little bit of Jimmy Edmonds, the initial jumps on balls and reads. Jimmy [Edmonds] wasn’t a fast guy, he wasn’t a basestealer. Jackie is the same way. Jackie is not a burner, but Jackie has real great vision, he practices during batting practice when he power shags, he gets reads on swings.
“There’s no doubt he’s going to be a very good big leaguer for a long time.”
On veteran righty Jose Contreras, who is with Pawtucket on a minor league deal: “The three appearances we’ve seen, he still has that wipeout forkball, his velocity is still up there, he’s still tough on right-handed hitters. So he has a specialty — he has a specific skill that can help in the bullpen.
“He’s a terrific teammate. He’s fitting right in. I didn’t know what to expect — I think he’s my age, and when he came in I said, ‘I played against you.’ But he’s fitting right in with guys and is a great teammate. Like I said, he has that one special skill where he can dominate right-handed hitters with good velocity on his fastball and forkball.”
On Bryce Brentz, the Red Sox’ top outfield prospect behind Bradley: “Bryce has been impressive to me. I know he’s been down, he had minor knee surgery so he’s down for a couple weeks. He’s eliminated a lot of his streakiness as a hitter. He’s improved and gotten better as an outfielder. He started out, I think he had three or four errors early on in the year, but he works hard and has improved. He has an above average, so yeah, he can play out there. He has right-handed pop.”
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