Boggs benefits from winterball experience

Centerfielder Brandon Boggs recently spent a month in the Mexican Pacific League following an outstanding 2007 campaign in the Rangers organization. Lone Star Dugout was able to speak with the 24-year-old about his experience with the Aguilas de Mexicali.

Brandon Boggs' breakout 2007 campaign was capped off when he earned a spot on the Rangers' 40-man roster earlier this week.

The Rangers' fourth round pick in the 2004 MLB Draft, Boggs was limited by injuries throughout his first three seasons in professional baseball. But the centerfielder combined to play in 130 regular season games with High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco in '07 – breaking his previous high (85) by 45 games. Boggs batted .262 between the two levels with a total of 30 doubles, 23 home runs, and 15 stolen bases.

Boggs earned an opportunity to play in the Mexican Pacific League just days after his professional season came to an end. The Georgia Tech product appeared in 23 games for the Aguilas de Mexicali and hit .284 with six doubles. Despite the decent numbers, Boggs felt there was room for improvement.

"It was alright," said Boggs of his performance in Mexico. "It's a totally different league. I kind of struggled at the end."

Because Boggs had never experienced the grind of a full season before, it is not hard to imagine why he struggled both late in the season with Frisco and later with Mexicali.

"In Mexico I was definitely tired," explained Boggs. "I was definitely tired at the end of our season [with Frisco] as well. I just really wanted to train my body to handle that type of workload because I'm going to be an everyday player I think."

The 24-year-old says one of his reasons for playing in Mexico was to gain as much experience as possible.

"I just really wanted some more at-bats just to see some baseball and work on my swing," he said. "I was working the other way and stuff like that – that's what I wanted to do."

Boggs was also able to work with different types of pitchers while he was in Mexico.

"It's a totally different way of pitching," said Boggs. "Our pitchers in America are taught to work off their fastball and they didn't do that out there."

The approach of the Mexican pitchers may have helped the centerfielder statistically. A switch-hitter, Boggs batted just .236 from the left side of the plate with the RoughRiders in 2007. However, he was able to hit .283 off righties during his time in Mexico. Boggs believes the success was due to the approach of the pitchers.

"There were just different ways of pitching," said Boggs. "Most of those Mexican guys just threw the ball and kept it away. A lot of the American guys like to throw the fastball in, curveballs in, and stuff like that. But they just really stayed away and it worked right into my plan of taking the ball the other way."

Though Boggs was removed from the Mexicali roster shortly after appearing in his final game on November 4th, he says it was a planned move.

"It was more of a plan by them," said Boggs when asked about his absence from the Mexicali roster. "They had a guy who they wanted to come out there first anyway come off the DL. I'm back at home."

With a frame that seems to resemble that of an NFL running back, it should come as no surprise that Boggs is already hard at work with his offseason training regimen.

"I have a guy who I go to about three days a week to basically work on baseball moves and speed agility," he said. "And then I have three days a week of going to do weight training just to keep my body in shape."

Now a member of the Rangers' 40-man roster, the only thing Boggs can say for sure about 2008 is that he will still be a member of the Rangers organization.

"I haven't really heard much," said Boggs when asked about next season. "Yesterday I got placed on the 40-man because they had to protect me. I know that, but next year I don't really know exactly what they want to do."

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