The Bosox Injection team is grading every player on the Sox based on their performances from the 2018 season. Next up is third basemen Rafael Devers.
Rafael Devers dealt with several injuries that kept him out towards the tail end of the 2018 season, but the 22-year old still managed to have a decent campaign as the Red Sox won it all.
Devers went on the 10-day DL on July 12th with left shoulder inflammation, returning just nine days later on the 21st of July. Just a week later, on July 29th, Devers was back on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. He was activated on August 8th, then went back on the shelf just a week later due to his hamstring once again. Devers was back and ready to go at the beginning of September.
The third basemen hit .240 in 2018 with 21 homers and 66 RBI’s in 121 games played. Like I mentioned, he missed a fair amount of games due to a couple different injuries, but he still managed to put together a decent season offensively.
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Defensively, Devers did struggle at times. He made 24 errors all year, which was the worst among all third basemen across the big leagues.
In the playoffs, Devers was much better both offensively and defensively. At the plate, he hit .294 with a homer and nine RBI’s in 11 games. His one bomb came in the ALCS against the Houston Astros, which ended up being a very crucial hit. It was a game-winning and series-clinching three-run homer off one of the game’s best, Justin Verlander.
Devers then came through in a big way in Game 4 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After Steve Pearce hit a game-tying shot in the eighth inning, the 22-year old came up to pinch hit in the top of the ninth with a chance to give Boston the lead. With Brock Holt on second base, Devers took a Dylan Floro offering right down the middle of the plate and laced it into center field for a single, driving in Holt and giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead.
Defensively, Devers looked a lot better at third base. He didn’t make any errors the entire postseason. He split time with Eduardo Nunez at the hot corner for a decent amount of October, which ended up being a solid combination for Boston.
If Devers didn’t come up clutch in the playoffs, he’d probably only deserve a B- or a B. But after his impressive performance for Boston in October baseball, I think a B+ is a deserving grade. He hit pretty well during the regular season from a power standpoint, hitting 21 homers. If he didn’t get hurt he probably could have had a better batting average than .240.
He did have a couple outstanding games during the year though, including a 5-for-5 performance against the New York Yankees on June 30th, becoming the youngest player ever at 21 years old and 249 days to hit a grand slam in the historic Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. He came up big in the most important moments for Boston at such a young age, which definitely speaks to his character as a ballplayer.
Looking forward to 2019
If Devers can stay healthy and improve his defense, he will definitely be Boston’s everyday third basemen. I also think he could hit 30+ homers a year for the Red Sox, and again, that just comes back to staying healthy and getting consistent at-bats on a daily basis. He needs to take intensive care of his body this off-season and get in even better shape so he can prevent these type of injuries from happening again in 2019. Devers has an extremely quick bat and I really think the sky is the limit offensively for the 22-year old.
All in all, 2018 was a productive year for Rafael Devers. It also ended in the best way possible; with a World Series title.