Will Red Sox look to Worcester to replace Bogaerts? Prospects Valdez, Mayer could help

Worcester's Enmanuel Valdez could be an option if the Red Sox are looking for prospect to replace the production of the departed Xander Bogaertz.
Worcester's Enmanuel Valdez could be an option if the Red Sox are looking for prospect to replace the production of the departed Xander Bogaertz.

WORCESTER — Now that Xander Bogaerts is no longer with the Boston Red Sox, let’s focus on the future of the shortstop position and how the Worcester Red Sox will help fill that void.

Bogaerts, now with the San Diego Padres for 11 years and $280 million, was once a homegrown talent in the Red Sox organization. He developed for four seasons in the minor league system before becoming a fulltime Red Sox in 2014. He was 21 when he reached Boston.

Well before this offseason arrived and conversations with Bogaerts and agent Scott Boras intensified, the Red Sox were already planning for the future, trying to figure out when Enmanuel Valdez and Marcelo Mayer will be ready to make an impact in Boston.

Enmanuel Valdez batted .237 with 7 homers and 30 RBI in 44 games for the WooSox since he was acquired from Houston.
Enmanuel Valdez batted .237 with 7 homers and 30 RBI in 44 games for the WooSox since he was acquired from Houston.

The Red Sox acquired Valdez, 23, from the Houston Astros for catcher Christian Vazquez on Aug. 1. Valdez hit .237 with 7 homers and 30 RBI in 44 games for the WooSox. Overall, he hit 28 homers and 107 RBI (tied for 6th-most in all of MiLB) between Worcester, Triple-A Sugar Land and Double-A Corpus Christi.

Versatility is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of his overall game. Offensively, he produces solid at-bats and can drive the ball to all fields. He did experience some lulls when the swing-and-miss would show up in his game and he would battle to fix it.

Defensively, his footwork around the second-base bag continues to be a work in progress, but his range and athleticism were a bit underrated when he first arrived in Worcester after the trade. He can play second, third and both corner outfield positions.

His baserunning also improved throughout the course of the season in Worcester. Basically, he worked hard in every aspect of his game and listened well when WooSox manager Chad Tracy, bench coach Jose Flores, or hitting coach Rich Gedman offered direction and advice.

It’s possible he’ll make an impact in Boston sooner than later and could make the Red Sox’ offseason failure to resign Bogaerts a bit easier to handle from a pure baseball standpoint. The club is excited about Valdez’s upside.

Boston's Marcelo Mayer signs autographs during baseball spring training at Jet Blue Park Wednesday March 16, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Boston's Marcelo Mayer signs autographs during baseball spring training at Jet Blue Park Wednesday March 16, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla.

Mayer, 19, is also on the radar.

The organization’s top prospect possesses an athletic 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and moves around the left side of the infield with ease. He reached High-A in only his second professional season and showcased his skills on both sides of the ball.

Mayer has the potential to one day become the fulltime shortstop for the Red Sox, but he still needs time to develop in the minors.

Losing Bogaerts will hurt the Red Sox, and certainly their fan base, but the answer could already be in the organization with Valdez and Mayer.

—Contact Joe McDonald at JMcDonald2@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoeyMacHockey.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Will Red Sox look to Worcester to replace Xander Bogaerts?