After hitting the winning score in the 2020 World Series, a two run home run over the Green Monster and being honoured with the Most Valuable Player of the Autumn Classic Xander Bogaerts finds himself learning a new position at the start of the 2021 Spring Training.
Bogaerts finds himself moved to second base for the start of spring training with the former starting second baseman Didi Gregoruis moving into Bogaerts spot at Shortstop as the Red Sox try to improve defensive metrics from their infield positions.
Initial plans were to move Gregorius to shortstop, Bogaerts to third base and Moncada back to second base but another review by the Boston management means Moncada stays at the hot corner as his primary position.
Driving this decision is Gregorius’ superior range and arm and he has played the position as late as 2019 with the Braves before signing with the Red Sox for the 2020 season where he was the team leader in batting average. Bogaerts defensive stats haven’t helped him in his bid to keep the shortstop position with a downturn in Zone Rating and EFF totals in 2020, but in truth he has never really excelled defensively at shortstop, while performing superbly with the bat.
Boston has the luxury of still being able to use interchangeable pieces at second, short and third with Gregoruis able to play all three, Moncada can play second or third while it is hoping Bogaerts can add second base to his skill set and improve at third base while Devers anchors first base and can also play third. Add free agent signing Cordero to the mix as a bat/speed option off the bench and the Red Sox have a degree of versatility in the infield.
In the outfield it seems more settled with defensive wizard Jackie Bradley Jr in centre field, Betts in right and Hicks in left backed up by Pratt and Hazelbaker.
Boston looks to carry three catchers again this season with Hicks replacing Jackson as a major upgrade defensively.
Pitching wise, with the addition of Endo and Betances a couple of pitchers will be pushed down the pecking order and with the depth they have built over the years Boston hope they can call on three or four Paw Sox pitchers or long relief men Mercedes and Matzek when injuries hit. Both Mercedes and Matzek will be in the rotation for spring training, they will carry ten starters to allow a gradual step back into action with a minimum of three starts for each of the main line pitchers in the rotation.
Boston seems to have their 26 man roster set already for the regular season barring injuries, there could be a level of tinkering but they are 95% there, but if the right move presents itself they will move on it before the season starts.