Bogaerts is USA TODAY Sports' Minor League Player of the Year

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

Up-and-coming Boston infielder Xander Bogaerts’ star just rose a little higher.

On Wednesday, Bogaerts was named Minor League Player of the Year today by USA TODAY Sports.

Bogaerts, who hails from Aruba and suited up for Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year, hit .297 with 15 home runs, 67 RBI and an .865 OPS in 116 games this season between AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket before getting the call up to the big-league team and making his MLB debut against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 20.

“It’s a great honor to be here,” Bogaerts told NESN from the dugout that night, before taking the field. “I’m very thankful and blessed.”

In his third game, Bogaerts recorded his first hit in the major leagues in a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The next night, he went 2 for 4 in an 8-1 win over the Dodgers and cashed in his first RBI.

He’s currently batting .316 in eight games overall for the Sox since coming on board. The 6-3, 185-lb shortstop — who has also been platooning with Will Middlebrooks at third — is the third-youngest player in the majors behind Washington’s Bryce Harper and Texas’ Jurickson Profar and the first position player for Boston age 20 or younger since Dewey Evans in 1972.

“You’re talking about a young, exciting offensive player; really a very good player all around,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, before Bogaerts’ debut. “At 20 years of age, he’s still developing. He is a person in his abilities who will give us a shot in the arm and make an impact here.”

Bogaerts is the fourth Boston link to be named minor league player of the year since USA TODAY Sports started singling out its top minor-league picks in 1988. In 1993, one-time Red Sox outfielder Cliff Floyd won the award, while outfielder Gabe Kapler and righthander Josh Beckett were tapped in 1998 and 2001, respectively.

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