#MLBPlayers411 | Xander Bogaerts

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Today's #MLBPlayers411 subject, Xander Bogaerts, has worked hard to develop the phenomenal skills that have made him a two-time Silver Slugger winner and All-Star by the age of 24, but the Aruban-born shortstop may never have been discovered if not for the willingness of the Red Sox scouting department to go the extra mile.  

In fact, Bogaerts signing as an international free agent out of Oranjestad, Aruba back in 2009 is a living example of Branch Rickey's famous quote that, “Luck is the residue of design.”

Former infielder Craig Shipley, who was heading the Red Sox's international scouting at the time, found Bogaerts because his experience growing up and playing ball in a place with little scouting (Australia) taught him to look for talent everywhere. It was Shipley who decided to hire a “adventurer scout” and it was the adventurer scout, Mike Lord, who decided to scout talent in Aruba and who sent Shipley video of 16-year-old Xander in the spring of 2009. “What stood out about Xander in that video was his athleticism,” Shipley told Sports On Earth. “He was taking ground balls in a way that was freestyle. One of the balls hit to him knocked him down. He threw to home plate while on his back. His stance and his swing is what you see now.”

Shipley flew to Aruba to see Bogaerts for himself and the Red Sox signed not just Xander but his twin brother, Jairs, as well.

Four years later, Xander made his major-league debut on Aug. 20, 2013 against the Giants. In 2015, he was second in the American League to only Miguel Cabrera with a .320 batting average and in 2016 the player known as “X-Man” to his teammates played in his first All-Star Game. 

Check out some photos of Xander here.