What does new prospect Nick Sogard bring to the Red Sox system?
The Boston Red Sox made a surprising trade on Wednesday, sending pitchers Chris Mazza and Jeffrey Springs to the Tampa Bay Rays for two prospects.
Mazza is 31-year-old reliever with a 5.05 ERA in his career (4.80 in 2020) and Springs is a 28-year-old reliever with a 5.42 ERA (7.08 in 2020). With that in mind, they probably didn’t get a great return, right?
Actually, Boston netted Ronaldo Hernandez, a fantastic catching prospect who was ranked 14th in the Tampa Bay system. It is likely he’ll be even higher for the Red Sox and could be an intriguing option in the not-so-distant future.
Then there is the other prospect, Nick Sogard. He might not be seen as the “prize” in this trade. He is not in the Rays’ top-30 prospects and won’t be on that list for the Red Sox either.
Sogard is a 23-year-old who has not played past Short-A yet. He is a switch-hitting infielder with very little power. In fact, he has just five extra-base hits in 214 career MiLB at-bats, and they are all doubles.
That all being said – Sogard could be a fantastic player. It’s all right there. No, he isn’t going to get you power numbers. Everything else is there though.
Sogard hasn’t played past Short-A, well blame 2020 for that. The MiLB season was cancelled last year, and Sogard was drafted in 2019. Now that Short-A doesn’t look bad, does it. Everything is all about context.
It’s also important to note that Sogard was drafted out of College. While that might not mean much – usually players that come out of College are more refined. So the ascension up the MiLB ladder goes a little quicker.
Now that we’ve all calmed down about where he has played – let’s look at the numbers. Sogard hit .290 (.405 OBP) in 2019. He will get on base at a high clip. And when he’s there, he’s a legitimate threat to steal. Sogard swiped 20 bags in just 63 games in 2019.
So hitting is a plus, plate discipline is a plus, and speed is a major plus.
Meanwhile, Sogard has shown an ability to play multiple spots in the infield. His main position was shortstop, but he also had plenty of time at third base and a few games at second base. Most importantly, he has a good glove at all three of those positions.
Sogard was not the headline grabber in this trade. He was the lower-ranked prospect in a trade that involved two pitchers with not great career numbers. So he’s going to slip through the cracks for a lot of people.
Don’t sleep on him though. His ability to defend multiple positions well makes him an asset. The fact that he will get on base at a high clip, steal plenty of bases, and potentially be a run scoring monster makes him a legitimate prospect.
Watch out for my Red Sox Prospect Watch in 2021. I have a feeling Sogard will be featured pretty regularly. Might even need to free up some spots on the hype train and get him a Paul Heyman shirt.