Does anyone remember Xander Bogaerts? He along with Jackie Bradley Jr. were the talk of Fort Myers as both were dominating headlines and field time. Then Bogaerts left for the World Baseball Classic to play for the Netherlands and Bradley Jr. took over as the headlining prospect everyone wants on the Red Sox roster for opening day. So what about Xander?
The highly touted prospect is on his way to San Francisco to rejoin the Red Sox for spring training. The question lingering moving forward: Did Xander Bogaerts hurt his chances to make the Red Sox roster by participating in the World Baseball Classic? Red Sox manager John Farrell thinks it was a great experience for the youngster.
"I think the experience that he had with the WBC is all positive," said Farrell. "Would we have liked more at-bats? Sure. But I think the fact that he played on the environment and on that stage outweighs a few less at-bats he otherwise would have had here."
And there you have it the cold, hard truth of the matter. Farrell would've liked to have seen more from Bogaerts at camp, however, the Netherlands came calling and Xander answered, but at what cost? Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms and will remain out indefinitely. If Bogaerts would've continued his camp with the Red Sox perhaps he'd be the one taking the majority of Drew's starts instead of Jose Iglesias.
At this point we'll never know. Iglesias has been solid in his replacement of Drew early on and looks to be the front runner to play shortstop on opening day. So what do you do with Bogaerts now? Farrell plans to keep him in camp for a little longer.
"He'll remain in camp here for the time being," John Farrell, "Just to get him back so we can be with him and he can be with us and see him on the field. He'll get some reps at short and possible third base. But make no mistake, he's still, in our eyes, a shortstop. We'll get him a few more at-bats before he starts his season (in the minors)."
It makes you wonder what might have been if Bogaert declined the invitation to the WBC and continued his early momentum with the Red Sox in spring training. We've witnessed the meteoric rise of Jackie Bradley Jr. all the while hoping Bogaert contained that same 'flash in the pan' ability. As we countdown the days until opening day if Xander doesn't make the opening day roster will he always be marred by the fact he chose the WBC over Red Sox camp? Only time will tell.
Follow Scott Levesque on Twitter at @scottlevesque.