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PAWTUCKET â€“ Deven Marrero attended Arizona State, the same Pac-12 school that also produced Dustin Pedroia. Both players lined up at shortstop for the Sun Devils prior to getting drafted by the Boston Red Sox.
Pedroia ended up shifting positions in the minors on his way to becoming one of the premier second baseman in the game. Relocating up-and-coming prospects from their natural positions to foreign ones has been a popular parlor game for the Red Sox this season, from Brock Holt experiencing life at different spots at the highest level to seeing Mookie Betts, Garin Cecchini and Travis Shaw expand their repertoire down on the farm.
On the same day that saw the Red Sox elevate the 23-year-old Marrero to Pawtucket, the organization tapped the breaks on the idea of shifting him around the diamond.
Translation: Boston views Marrero as a future shortstop â€“ at least for now.
â€śAt this point, we have no plans to. You never say never, but at this point the focus will be for Deven to stay at shortstop at Triple A,â€ť said Ben Crockett, Red Sox director of player development. â€śIf thereâ€™s an adjustment, it will come later on.â€ť
Wednesday night saw the 6-foot-1 Marrero start his 200 professional game at shortstop. The 2012 first-round selection wasted little time fitting into his new surroundings as Marrero easily handled all three chances hit his way in the top of the first inning.
Marrero brings a career .977 fielding percentage to his new level â€“ he committed 21 errors in 928 chances. For comparisonâ€™s sake, onetime Red Sox shortstop phenom Jose Iglesias committed 37 errors in 1,196 chances in 277 minor-league games. That equates to a .970 fielding percentage.
â€śDeven was very advanced coming defensively when he came into the organization and I think heâ€™s shown that at every level,â€ť said Crockett about a player who Baseball America lauded for having the infield arm in the Red Soxâ€™ system. â€śHeâ€™s got the consistency to make the routine play and the athleticism and arm strength to make the above-average play as well. Itâ€™s certainly something weâ€™ve been impressed with from the get go and itâ€™s definitely a strength of his.â€ť
Unlike Betts and Cecchini, two players who Boston scooped up right out of high school, Marrero came to the organization as a semi-polished sort due to his college days and an appearance with Team USA. The experiences have seemed to pay off as he stands one level away from the majors after getting drafted two short years ago.
â€śWhether its summer league or Team USA, theyâ€™re all good developmental opportunities for the players and a lot ways take the place of the development that high school players get, particularly in the lower minor leagues,â€ť said Crockett. â€śItâ€™s something that can help college players move through the system a little quickly and Deven has been able to do in getting up to Triple A in his second full season.â€ť
Marrero was batting .287 with a .368 on-base percentage at the time of his departure from Double-A Portland. Heâ€™s shown a little power this season with five home runs and a .429 slugging percentage in 68 games.
Batting in the ninth spot, Marrero went 2-for-4 with a run scored in his Pawtucket debut.
â€śHeâ€™s swinging the bat well. He made some adjustments mechanically coming into the year that have really helped him out,â€ť said Crockett. â€śGiven the fact he was in (Portland) at the end of last year and made those strides offensively and the defense being where it was, we felt like it was the right time to push him to a new level at a time when heâ€™s feeling pretty good about himself at the plate and continues to do the little things that have allowed him to be successful.â€ť
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