Name: Brandon Boggs
DOB: January 9, 1983
Entering the 2007 season, Brandon Boggs had been one of those players always on the verge of breaking out. Anyone who saw him play could see the talent and potential, but injuries and inconsistency at the plate led to mediocre numbers in Boggs' first three professional seasons.
Boggs enjoyed a breakout season in 2007 for one primary reason – he was finally healthy.
Spending his first two full seasons at the two Class-A levels, Boggs was limited to only 163 total games due to injuries. Because he had logged just 284 at-bats with High-A Bakersfield in 2006, the switch-hitting outfielder began his 2007 season with the Blaze. Despite a .250 batting average, Boggs earned a promotion by belting nine doubles and four home runs in just 26 games.
Although Boggs had performed well in Bakersfield, the buzz surrounding his breakout season didn't begin until he got settled in at Double-A Frisco. The outfielder got off to a relatively slow start with the ‘Riders, but he rebounded to bat .302 with nine doubles, seven home runs, and 19 walks in 96 June at-bats.
Boggs did cool off quite a bit down the stretch, finishing the season in a 17-for-85 (.200) slump over the season's final month. But the slow finish shouldn't be something to be alarmed about. In 2007, the Atlanta native appeared in 130 regular season games. He had never played more than 85 games in any previous pro season. In a sense, it was like last season was the 2004 draftee's first full campaign.
While his late-season struggles could be pinned on inexperience, so could his breakout season as a whole. Because Boggs had missed so much time in 2005 and 2006, he was never able to receive consistent at-bats. All of the time on the shelf also meant Boggs was unable to learn the pro game. The outfielder has been quick to credit his outstanding season to his mental development, rather than physical.
There has been little doubting Boggs' natural abilities as a baseball player. If he is able to remain healthy and become more consistent at the plate, he could play a key role in the Rangers' outfield in the near future.
Also See: Seven breakout candidates for ‘07 (April 7, 2007)
Instant Analysis: Frisco @ San Antonio (May 19, 2007)
Instant Analysis: Wichita @ Frisco (May 22, 2007)
Instant Analysis: San Antonio @ Frisco (June 6, 2007)
Consistency is the key for Boggs (July 13, 2007)
Instant Analysis: Frisco vs. Midland (August 26, 2007)
Sizing up the outfield prospects (October 10, 2007)
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Mike Boulanger (November 5, 2007)
Boggs benefits from winterball experience (November 21, 2007)
Batting and Power: With his strong 5-foot-11, 205-pound frame, Boggs has always looked the part of a major league slugger, but he had not produced results prior to the 2007 season. Boggs was finally able to remain healthy last season and the end result was 23 home runs and 84 walks, leading to a combined OPS (on-base-plus-slugging) of .887. The switch-hitter has above-average power and an excellent eye at the plate, but he has always struggled with strikeouts. Boggs has also consistently struggled from the left side of the plate. Although he is able to rack up the walks against right-handers, Boggs batted just .236 against them with Double-A Frisco last season. Conversely, he hit .311 with a .660 slugging percentage against southpaws with the ‘Riders.
Base Running and Speed: Boggs is not incredibly speedy, but he does have above-average wheels. He is not likely to swipe a lot of bases at any level, but he is a smart baserunner and picks his spots well. Boggs' speed also helps him in centerfield, where he is an outstanding defender.
Defense: The Rangers system is blessed with a handful of outstanding defensive centerfielders, but Boggs may be the best of them. The Georgia Tech product's speed is just slightly above-average, but his outstanding reads and first step help give him plus range in the outfield. He also has a strong arm that would fit in a corner outfield spot, let alone in center. Saying that Boggs has "Gold Glove potential" may be going overboard – and that would be assuming he hits enough to become a full-time starter – but he certainly would be one of the better defensive centerfielders in the American League.
Projection: Boggs has the tools to be the Rangers' everyday centerfielder, but he must improve his offense from the left side of the plate. The 25-year-old is a great defensive player with good speed, good power, and a good eye at the plate, but he has struggled to find consistency offensively – especially against righties. At the very least, Boggs could be an effective fourth outfielder, platooning against left-handed pitchers. Boggs has the arm and athletic ability to fill in at both left and right field. If Boggs is able to become a more consistent hitter from the left side of the plate, a typical Major League stat line for him may look much like his 2007 Double-A statistics.
2008 Outlook: After breaking out at the Double-A level one season ago, Boggs appears set to patrol centerfield for the Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks when spring training breaks later this month. Boggs lasted longer than expected in big league camp despite being a long shot to make the team's opening day roster. He was finally sent to minor league camp on Friday, March 14. Boggs may have been getting extra looks in anticipation that he could become the team's centerfielder should Josh Hamilton suffer an injury.