In the 2012 MLB draft, Deven Marrero was projected to be a top ten pick before the college baseball season started. After a disappointing junior campaign, his stock slipped and he fell to the 24th pick overall. Despite only batting .279 with a .335 OBP as a junior, his freshman year he was outstanding batting .397 along with six homeruns and 11 stolen bases. This was paired up with outstanding defense for all three years he was at Arizona State. Marrero agreed to a contract along with a $2,050,000 signing bonus, and the Boston Red Sox had their highest pick signed just 14 days after the draft ended. Marrero, 23, is a guy whose defense gives him pride boasting a .988 fielding percentage at shortstop in 2013, but he can do so much more than just play defense. Between high-A Salem and AA Portland, he swiped 27 bags on 29 attempts while batting a combined .252 with a .338 OBP. So far this spring, he is four for eight with one double and four walks compared to just one strikeout. Although this is a small sample size, it is encouraging to see him succeed at such a high level, especially when it comes from a guy not known for having a great bat. On defense, expect a real show from Marrero. This is a guy who is more advanced defensively than some Major League shortstops (Bogaerts included). His fielding percentage should be somewhere in the .990 range which is gold glove quality to say the least. On the basepaths, Marrero has had a ton of past success swiping bases at a success rate, and do not expect 2014 to be any different. Potentially he has what it takes to steal upwards of 35 bags if he plays every day. In just 104 games last season he swiped 27, so if he plays in 120 games, 30 steals should not be a problem.
At the plate, expect Marrero to be solid. With a decent bat and great plate discipline Marrero will not wow anyone but he will certainly do his job and earn his paycheck. He is a guy who realistically could bat .270 with a .350 OBP which is good enough to play for AAA Pawtucket in 2015. For power, he is not someone who should be relied upon to hit a ton of homeruns. With 22 extra base hits last season, expect Marrero to hit up to 25 doubles and with about five homeruns. As a right-handed batter at Hadlock Field, his extra base hits are bound to go up with the Maine Monster out in left. The Maine Monster for anyone who does not follow Sea Dogs baseball is a replica of the Green Monster at Fenway Park, the only difference is it is not as wide and does not have seats.
As far as this year goes, expect Marrero to start the year off in AA Portland and stay there most of the season. Towards the end though in August, it is highly likely that he could earn a promotion to AAA Pawtucket. In Portland, Marrero has no competition for playing time, this is because he is the only prospect (key word prospect) projected to play for Portland who played a game at shortstop last year. Same goes for AAA. Brock Holt is projected to man shortstop for the PawSox, but with the versatility to play all around the field there should be no problem finding playing time for both of those guys every game when they do become teammates. Marrero’s biggest challenge however, comes in the fact that he is blocked at the big league level by phenom Xander Bogaerts. Marrero is three years Bogaerts’ elder which would make it tough for Marrero to beat earn playing time over Bogaerts in the future. In that case, Marrero could add to his value by learning new positions such as second and third base so he could play a role as a utility man.
To recap, Marrero is a guy who could be called up to the Red Sox in 2015. Although he is not Babe Ruth at the plate, his bat should develop to a point where teams would feel comfortable using him in their lineup. On defense, he is someone who every team wants, an outstanding defensive shortstop. His speed on the basepaths will help him develop into a solid base stealer, the type who swipes 15-20 bags a year. His biggest problem in the big leagues however, will be finding playing time for the Boston Red Sox. Blocked by Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, and Garin Cecchini, finding playing time will not be easy. His best bet would be if Garin moves to first base which is a possibility and Middlebrooks either fails or becomes a DH. That way Bogaerts could move to third base and Marrero to short, but this hypothetical situation seems farfetched. There could also be a trade or Marrero could learn to play elsewhere, but these situations bring up interesting possibilities for the front office. Whatever happens, Deven Marrero is and will be a talented baseball player, so it would be in Boston’s best interest to keep him around as long as possible. Follow me on Twitter @CLNS_Tom