The Boston Red Sox future star 3rd baseman came to play earlier than expected. Scouts raved about his bat, but no one thought he’d get called up so early. Pablo Sandoval clearly didn’t work out, so the Sox needed another player to lock down the position. Brock Holt dealt with vertigo all season. Deven Marrero was a stopgap at best with below average offense. Josh Rutledge didn’t perform much better. Tzu-Wei Lin had a good start, but began trending downward the more he played. That gave way to top prospect Rafael Devers.
Devers was called upon for his first game on July 25th. The man started off his major league career blazing hot, starting off his first 20 career games with a .364 average. The pop was obvious with 8 homeruns in that span. His biggest moment came when he took a 103-mph fastball from New York Yankees Aroldis Chapman to opposite field for a homerun to tie the game in the 9th.
Once that moment happened, everyone knew the kid was here to stay.
Rafael slowed down to end the season, but ended with pretty solid numbers for a kid who isn’t legally allowed to drink yet (turns 21 on October 24th). He ended the season with a .284 average with 10 homeruns and 30 RBI’s in 58 games. He’s assured to be the starting 3rd baseman and likely in the top end of the lineup for the Sox come 2018. What will this man’s numbers look like across an entire season in the big leagues?
His pop is very apparent, but his discipline needs some refining. He’ll only be playing in his age 21 season, so there’s more than enough time to become more disciplined at the plate, but he’ll need the seasoning. In the playoffs, Justin Verlander specifically targeted throwing high fastballs because Devers seemed to chase those above his shoulders. That may have been the reason for his benching of game 2 in that series. He ended the season with a .284 average and I think it’ll end up being right around there, as long as he doesn’t become chase happy and can work a count better.
As far as his power and driving in runs, I don’t see why this man can’t end up being the main run producer on this team. The addition of a power hitter to balance the lineup out should help, but the biggest addition to the Sox may be the maturity of a complete season for Devers.
The way I see it, Rafael Devers’ numbers could project something like this:
Batting Average: .291
Home Runs: 29
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