Deven Marrero

Red Sox prospect Deven Marrero: 'I want to be the Derek Jeter of the Red Sox'

September 27, 2014 - 9:00 am

It comes as little surprise to hear someone who grew up in the Jeter Generation once aspired to be like Derek Jeter. But some haven't given up the dream of emulating the Yankees shortstop. Deven Marrero, whom the Red Sox recognized on Sunday as their Defensive Player of the Year, was elated to be at Fenway Park on Saturday to witness the penultimate game of Jeter's career. Marrero, a 24-year-old who was the Sox' first-round selection in the 2012 draft and who concluded the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, suggested the proximity to the Yankees captain was little short of an inspiration. "It's awesome. That's someone who I want to be. I want to be the Derek Jeter of the Red Sox. That's my goal. He does everything right. He plays the game hard. He's a champion. That's all I want to be. To see him finish out like this is so cool. I really wish I could have played with him on the same field, but I just want to continue his legacy. I hope I can continue that in Boston," said Marrero, who elaborated that his desire to be the Red Sox' Jeter suggested an ambition "to be a champion. That's what he is for the Yankees, a champion. He won all those championships and he was the captain. He set a good example for those who will come up behind him." Of course, Jeter's legacy was forged on the basis of his all-around production and steadying defensive influence from a premium position. While Marrero has Gold Glove potential as a defender, his offense has lagged behind his glove. He enjoyed a spectacular start to the year in Double-A Portland, hitting .291 with a .371 OBP and .433 slugging mark, but after a solid start following a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, he slumped severely, hitting .210 with a .260 OBP and .285 slugging mark in 50 Triple-A games. He did experience some recovery during a solid PawSox postseason run, but the exposure to Triple-A pitching represented, more than anything, a lesson in adversity. "I learned from that because I'm going to struggle in my career. I learned how to handle it. I went through a time where I felt really well, really comfortable, then I went through a time where I had no idea what was going on and then a time when I felt comfortable again. That's baseball, man. I just grinded it out and then I learned so that next time it happens to me when I hit that spell, it's a lot shorter," said Marrero. "I was rushing my at-bats, trying to do everything in just one swing, one at-bat and you can't do that. That's what I learned. I learned to be patient and let the game come to me instead of going out there and trying to force it. That's something I learned and something I'm going to work on for the coming-up year." Marrero represents the Red Sox' top defensive shortstop in their upper levels. But for now, Xander Bogaerts occupies that position, while other middle infielders such as Brock Holt and Mookie Betts have been moved elsewhere in order to accommodate their ascent to the majors. That raises a question about where Marrero might fit and what his big league timetable might be, but as he prepares to head to the Arizona Fall League, the shortstop declined to try to imagine the front office outlook. "That's a good problem to have for the Red Sox. That just shows you how talented our minor leagues is," said Marrero. "Look at all these guys coming up here and performing. That just says a lot about the front office of the Red Sox. They're going out and getting the right players. Us as players, we don't worry about that. We just worry about what we can control and that's out here, playing the game hard and getting better each day. Our time will come when it comes. You have to be ready for it. That's what the Red Sox minor league system is for. It's there to get you developmentally ready so that when you get up here you hit the floor running like Mookie has, like Garin [Cecchini] has, like Bryce [Brentz]." Yet with all the callups of former teammates has come a reminder for Marrero. He is not far from the big leagues, from the opportunity to compete at the highest level. "[Mookie Betts is like] my little brother. To see him out here doing his thing, he's showing the world how great he is. He's such a great kid and a great person. I couldn't be happier. Yesterday I was here at the game and I had a smile on my face all game watching him and Garin go out there and have fun, play the game in front of a lot of these people," said Marrero. "It was truly special to watch and hopefully I'm a part of it one day."