With that precociousness in mind, the Red Sox took the rare step of thrusting a 20-year-old rookie shortstop into the middle of a playoff race. Bogaerts is the third-youngest player in the majors, 15 days older than the Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper and about five months older than the Texas Rangers' Jurickson Profar. Bogaerts also is Boston's first position player age 20 or younger since outfielder Dwight Evans in 1972.

"Knowing the talent and the ability he was showing in Triple-A and knowing the makeup, we felt pretty good about it," Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett says of calling up the highly touted prospect to play a backup role as Boston tries to hold on to the American League East lead.

"He brings a maturity beyond his years that allows him to operate in these environments where he's the youngest player or one of the youngest."

Bogaerts batted a combined .297 with 15 home runs, 67 RBI and a .865 OPS between Class AA and AAA, made his major league debut Aug. 20 and got his first big-league hit four days later.

The fast climb to the majors, his standout season and obvious tools made Bogaerts' the logical choice as USA TODAY Sports' Minor League Player of the Year, following 2012 winner Wil Myers and 2011 honoree Paul Goldschmidt.
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