Welcome to BP Boston’s Roster Recap series! We continue to break down every player on Boston’s 40-man roster and many of the top prospects in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the roster’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as what we can expect moving forward. There’s no better time than the offseason to review the best (there was some best!) and worst (there was a lot of worst!) of the past year in red and navy. You can see previous editions of Roster Recap here.
Drafted with the 24th pick in the 2012 draft, Deven Marrero gave many dreams of an all-Sun-Devil infield. Three years later, you might see it happen from time to time, like when Xander Bogaerts needs a day off, or when Brock Holt can’t get out on the field for some reason. He’ll never be mistaken for his fellow alumnus Dustin Pedroia, but man, Marrero can flash the leather with the best of them. He just can’t really hit.
What Went Right in 2015
The first-round pick finally debuted in the majors. Marrero got a cup of coffee in September and played in 25 games, mostly as a defensive replacement at third base and occasionally at shortstop. Even though he never really showed much pop – not terribly unusual for him – he was able to get his first home run in late September.
Thing is, that might be his only offensive highlight. Then you see him pull off stuff like this:
Marrero showed he could be more then competent manning any position on the left side of the infield, and frankly, the right side doesn’t seem like it would be too hard for him either. He is delightful to watch in the field, and you end up hoping every ball ends up hit to him so you can see a picture-perfect way on how to put a glove on it.
What Went Wrong in 2015
Remember that home run? Yeah, that’s really all he did with a bat. Marrero has a flat swing with very little loft to it, making him a line drive machine, but there’s not a lot of strength behind it, and his bat speed isn’t anything to write home about. He’s also had issues with seeing and hitting pitches that don’t stick to moving in a straight line. That’s always been his Achilles’ heel, and it looks like it won’t get much better anytime soon.
At this point, Marrero would be a major leaguer on the strength of his glove, but if he could hit at all, he’d be so much better. And yet, as Chris Crawford put it in the Red Sox Top 10 prospects list:
“If Marrero had a semblance of offensive upside, he would be among the best shortstop prospects in baseball. He doesn’t. There’s some strength in the swing and he can put the ball into the gaps, but he gets fooled consistently by anything with movement, and the lack of bat speed makes the hit tool below average as well.”
Future Outlook/MLB ETA
Having already had a month in the majors, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Marrero rent out seats on the Pawtucket-Boston charter in 2016. He’s the next man up should the bench need help, and if Bogaerts goes down or Holt starts fighting fatigue again, Marrero will get the call. If it wasn’t for Bogaerts and Pedroia, Marrero would probably have a chance to start, but he drew the short stick when it came to being drafted by teams with great middle infielders.
For his long-term outlook, it’s more of a mystery than you’d expect. The Red Sox should be keen on keeping him in a bench role if they can, but with Bogaerts’ breakout and Holt playing all of the positions, his place there seems mostly redundant. It’s tough to say how it’ll shake out for him, but he’ll need injuries or ineffectiveness to have a semi-permanent spot on the 25-man roster.
It’s really a shame, at least from an aesthetic standpoint. Guys who make fielding look this natural are amazing to watch.
Photo by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images