September 4, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Xander Bogaerts has been named the USA TODAY Sports' Minor League Player of the Year, the publication announced this morning. Bogaerts is the first Red Sox player to win the honor since USA TODAY began awarding it in 1988.
The official release announcing the award stated "the fast climb to the majors, his standout season and obvious tools made Bogaerts' the logical choice as USA TODAY Sports' Minor League Player of the Year." Bogaerts, 20, began the year with Double-A Portland. There, he dominated the Eastern League with a .311/.407/.502 line in 259 plate appearances. In his final 24 games at the level, he forced his way to a promotion with a .364/.472/.625 line.
On June 13, Bogaerts was given the call to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was the youngest player in the International League. His relative youth turned out to be a non-factor, as he hit .284/.369/.453 in 256 plate appearances. When his contract was purchased by the Red Sox on August 19, Bogaerts overall 2013 line stood at .297/.388/.477 with 23 doubles, 15 home runs, and 67 RBI.
Originally signed out of Aruba in 2009, Bogaerts has won a bevy of awards in his time in the minor leagues. He was twice named to the All-Star Futures Game, and earned All-Star recognition in both the Dominican Summer League in 2010 and Carolina League in 2012. When he made his major leauge debut in San Francisco, Bogaerts became the first 20-year old to play for the Red Sox since Dwight Evans in 1972.
While Bogaerts is the first player to win the USA TODAY Minor League Player of the Year while playing in the Boston organization Josh Beckett (2001), Gabe Kapler (1998), and Cliff Floyd (1993), who would later go on to join the Red Sox, were each winners. Other winners who went onto star in the major leagues included Carlos Delgado (1992), Andruw Jones (1995 and 1996), Josh Hamilton (2000), Justin Upton, (2007), and David Price (2008).
Photo Credit: Xander Bogaerts by Kelly O'Connor